Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ritter Farm May 31

Well, the outdoor classroom was in session today. We banded 16 birds of 11 species, and had some really interesting ones. I was really excited about the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks that came in. There was a female, with a very defined brood patch, pictured here. For those who might not know, a bird incubating eggs will either pull some feathers off the tummy, or the hormones will help in the feather loss, to make it possible for her body heat to be in more direct contact with the eggs. The other photo is of the female chomping on Mark's finger. I wanted to show the bright yellow under the wing that is not often seen.
The male is a younger bird, as evidenced from the buffy/tan feathers on his head and breast. What a beak!
This Red-eyed Vireo has a very distinct hook in the bill - can you see it at the tip?

This female Red-winged Blackbird presented a bit of a mystery for us. She clearly had some kind of reed or other plant that had become embedded just under her chin. The bird was otherwise healthy, and the piece did not appear to bother her. Mark and Roger did decide to clip this off right where it touched the skin. The piece was solid and not hollow, so clipping it did not open any kind of way for bacteria to enter the bird's body.

I was thrilled to find a nest of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher! Can you see her next to the nest, on the left in the first photo? She was still in the process of building it, by bringing in spider webs and other material.

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