|Delta Marsh Bird Observatory
Delta Marsh Bird Observatory (DMBO), located at the south end of Lake Manitoba (24 km north of Portage la Prairie), has been operating since 1992, initially as a fall monitoring site, and then in 1995 as both spring and fall. Although traditionally noted for its abundance of waterfowl, Delta Marsh is also a primary stopover site for migrating songbirds. A narrow strip of trees growing on a dune ridge between the lake and the marsh provides a natural migration pathway, creating an ideal place in which to situate a monitoring station. The ridge and associated deciduous forest acts as a natural migrational corridor for landbirds migrating to and from the boreal forest and aspen parklands to the west of Lake Manitoba. Delta Marsh is a 18,000 hectare marsh, the largest of several marshes in the Lake Manitoba basin. It is internationally recognized as an ecologically important wetland and was designated an Important Bird Area in 1999 due to its significance as a waterfowl staging area and stopover sight for neotropical migrants.
DMBO operates daily during spring and fall migration, following a standardized protocol which includes banding, a daily census, continuous observations and daily Estimated Totals. Spring coverage begins 1 May and continues into the first week of June; fall coverage begins 8 July and runs through to the end of September.
Huge numbers of migrating songbirds (average 7,500/year) have earned DMBO the reputation of being among the busiest monitoring stations on the continent. The Yellow Warbler is far and away the species most often caught at DMBO, with an average of about 1500 individuals banded each year. Tennessee Warbler and Myrtle Warbler are also banded in large numbers. Other commonly banded species include Least Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush and White-throated Sparrow.
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