North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO1 2017

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/936087

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 18 AT L A N T I C P R O V I N C E S & S T. P I E R R E E T M I Q U E LO N late Oct and early Nov. This bird was eventually brought to Hope for Wildlife for rehabilitation. Thirteen Cooper's Hawks were reported from New Brunswick throughout the period, where they are known to breed in small numbers. The recently increasing reports of this mid-sized Accipiter in Nova Sco - tia continued this season with an unprecedented 15 seen, half of which were spotted in the south - west. Red-shouldered Hawk, a rare breeding species in New Brunswick, was observed 5 times in that province. Even less com - mon in Nova Scotia, singles of this Buteo species were sighted on Seal I., NS 19 Oct (Avery Bartels) and on B.P.I. 24 Oct (David Bell, Dominic Cormier). Photos of an extralimital Swainson's Hawk at Petit Cap, Westmorland, NB 4 Oct (ph. Elaine Gallant) were posted on Facebook. An imma - ture Golden Eagle at Point Armour, Labrador 9 Nov (ph. Vernon Buckle) was an exciting find; 3 more were observed in New Brunswick where it is considered a rare but regular migrant. A vagrant Common Gallinule was feeding on grass with wigeons at the golf course at Bally Haley, NL 10 Nov (Bruce Mactavish). Sandhill Cranes were reported in Prince Edward Island (9 individuals) and Nova Scotia (up to 22 indi - viduals), but photos of 2 adults and 2 imma- tures at Chapman Settlement, Cumberland, NS 23 Aug (Peter McCathie), along with descrip - Scotia were a very good showing; most were observed during Aug. Outside of Nova Sco - tia, an adult spent time in St. Pierre, SPM 15 Aug–1 Sep (Patrick Hacala, Patrick Boez), an immature bird was near Marystown on the Bu - rin Peninsula, NL 18 Aug (Christian Kelly), and an adult was seen flying past at Mary's Point, York, NB 2 Sep (ph. Randy Fowler). Glossy Ibis, more common in spring migration, was only observed once; a bird was at the French Basin Trail, Annapolis Royal, Annapolis, NS 5-7 Aug (ph. Larry Neily). A rare Black Vulture showed up at Hamp- ton, Kings, NB 5 Sep (ph. Bonny Culley) and another, a very tame one, was present at an un - disclosed location in Cape Breton, NS during Leach's Storm-Petrel was observed on the St. John River in Fredericton, NB 12 Aug (Gilles Belliveau). The 3 White- tailed Topicbirds and one White-faced Storm-Petrel recorded by East Coast Seabirds at Sea (a Canadian Wildlife Service project) bring the provincial totals for these species to 16 and 5 respectively. A very rare land-based sighting of Brown Booby grounded at Long Beach, NL 4 Aug (Richard, Bob & Jan Carroll) was described as an ad. female with a pale bill. EGRETS THROUGH SHOREBIRDS Three Least Bitterns made it to the Region; one representing the fourth record for St. Pierre et Miquelon was at St. Pierre 13 Sep (ph. Philippe Lahi - ton), the second was a disoriented bird brought to Hope for Wildlife in Nova Scotia by the De - partment of Natural Resources 14 Sep, and the last was a long-staying bird at Virginia Lake, St. John's, NL 20 Oct–11 Nov (Alison Mews & Ed Hayden, subs. m. ob.). Great Egrets numbered 17 in Nova Scotia, 16 in New Brunswick and one in Newfoundland. The only Snowy Egret was one at Atwoods Brook, Shelburne, NS 16 Oct (ph. Larry Neily). Nova Scotia had 8 Little Blue Herons, most during Oct, otherwise, two singles were reported for the Region: one at Plum Point, NL 4 Sep (John & Ivy Gibbons) and another at Point aux Carr, Northumberland, NB 19 Sep (Pam Watters, Phil Riebel). Ten Yellow-crowned Night Herons in Nova SA The Northern Gannet colonies of Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland, and Bonaventure I., Québec, are in distress. Reduced prey availability in recent years has resulted in poor breeding success. While both of these major colonies are in trouble, only the Newfoundland colony has experienced drastic and sudden parental abandonment of chicks, and therefore has singularly been well covered in the media. Approximately 75% of the 25,000 adult Northern Gannets nesting at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve in southeast Newfoundland once again temporarily abandoned their chicks in August 2015. It is the third year since 2012 that this alarming behavior has been observed at the most southerly Northern Gannet colony. Gannet parents virtually never leave their chicks alone at the nest since unattended chicks are vulnerable to predation. Bonaventure is home to about 27,000 breeding gannets, and temporary chick abandonment has also been observed during recent Augusts. Autopsies and measurements of live gannets at Cape St. Mary's after the first abandonment in 2012 showed evidence of starvation. Parents returning to chicks with nothing to regurgitate strengthened the case for undernourishment. High numbers of gannets were observed well outside of their regular foraging ranges, consistent with low local availability of prey. It is thought that warm surface water could cause pre - ferred prey species to move deeper in the water column or horizontally to cooler, more distant waters. Only 38.5% of nesting pairs at Cape St. Mary's had successfully fledged a chick in 2012 compared with 67.9% to 92% during the three previ - ous years. Bill Montevecchi of Memorial University in Newfoundland reported that only 26% of the chicks survived in 2015, the lowest breed- ing rate on record. In comparison, Bonaventure saw waning breeding success since 2009, culminating in a horrendous 8% in 2012, rebounding to about 40% during the three following years, still much lower than the pre-2009 numbers (average of 72.5%). These desertion events initially seemed to coincide with abnormally warm waters near the colony. The 2015 event was different from the previous two abandonment years in that the waters were not warm. Montevecchi believes that the abnormal behavior is climate related, and likely associated with reduced prey availability and parental stress that was possibly triggered by intense rain and storm events. The uncertainty in the mechanisms causing this mass abandonment requires study and research is ongoing. Montevecchi is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track adults over the next year. Solar-powered devices attached with silicon harnesses will transmit to cell phone towers along the coasts of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the eastern U.S. Newfoundland's first White-winged Tern was found at Long Pond and Chamberlains Pond east of Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. The bird was present from 19 August–1 September and showed well during that time. Photo by © Jared Clarke.

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