As a member station of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN) TCBO conducts daily counts of migratory birds during spring (May 1 to June 11) and fall migration (August 1 to the end of October). Each day observatory staff & volunteers maintain a six-hour migration watch, documenting all birds detected. At the end of the day the observers meet and collectively arrive at a total number of birds observed (& captured) for each species.
Using this migration count data the CMMN estimates annual population indices for use by resource managers and planners. Although a primary focus of the CMMN is to count migrants for long-term population monitoring purposes, the scope of the network is not restricted to monitoring bird population trends. All stations also collect banding data, which provides information on sex ratios, age structure, body condition (e.g. fat loads), and morphological measurements.
Collectively, the large databases of information collected by CMMN stations are of great value to researchers studying bird migration and ecology. CMMN stations contribute to many broad-scale research projects which, in the absence of this largely volunteer-based network, would not be otherwise possible owing to the prohibitive costs associated with obtaining special permits and specialized equipment, the need to acquire and train sufficiently skilled field staff, and the need for centralized coordination.
On Watch, in more ways than one!