After a quiet week at Manomet headquarters, a surge of new birds flooded Manomet’s banding lab on May 27th.


Of the 174 birds caught that day, only 20 were recaptures, resulting in the highest turnover of new migratory birds captured in a single day this season.


Banding Director Trevor Lloyd-Evans attributed the increase in captures to a fallout phenomenon that forced many migratory species to find refuge on land during their Monday night migrations. This occurred after migrants found favorable winds along the East Coast over the weekend but had to delay their travels due to a thick layer of clouds that covered much of the Northeast, causing the skies to be unnavigable.


These conditions resulted in a seasonal peak of Magnolia Warblers at Manomet.  On the 27th, the banding team had 5 recaptures and 45 new captures, which doubled the average of Magnolia Warblers captured throughout the course of Manomet’s spring season. 


The spring fallout event also brought many first-of-the-season birds to Manomet including one Gray-cheeked Thrush, two Great Crested Flycatchers, one Alder Flycatcher, two Canada Warblers and two Bay-breasted Warblers. The banders were especially excited about the Bay-breasted Warblers, as it is rare to spot even one at Manomet during the spring season. The North American Breeding Bird Survey has shown that the species has been experiencing an annual decrease in population of more than 1.5% in their breeding habitats in Northern Maine and Canada since 1966.


 Lloyd-Evans explained that while the population of Bay-breasted Warblers can jump significantly “when there are Spruce Budworm caterpillars in abundance in the boreal forests, there seems to be a slow, steady decline in the species in general, possibly due to the erosion of wintering habitats in tropical rainforests in Southern and Central America.”


Trends in captures and recaptures from May 15th to May 27th, which highlights the extraordinary leap in new captures experienced at the lab on Tuesday, May 27th.


Liza LePage