Friday, April 30, 2010

Long Distance Turkey Vultures

You've heard me say it before - banding birds is so cool, and it teaches you so much. Another way to mark birds for research is to use auxiliary markers, which can be wing tags, neck bands or others.

My dad today spotted a Turkey Vulture with a patagial tag! This is a close up of what one looks like, not the one my dad saw, courtesy of a blog maintained by Jared Clark, the park naturalist for Wascana Centre Authority in Regina, Saskatchewan. The number my dad saw was S48. The project is one to find out about migration and other natural biology habits of Turkey Vultures. I talked to Dr. Stuart Houston, who is heading this project, and he said that the bird my dad saw was banded as a chick in August last year (09) at Porcupine Prairie, Saskatchewan. That is over 800 miles away! I am still gathering some information about the project and the bird - check back for updates!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SES April

Went banding a week or so again with the MInnesotaBirdNerd, Roger. Had a couple of nice birds. This male cardinal was in bright plumage.

This Hermit Thrush was a nice treat! Normally when these birds pass through MN the weather is so crummy that we don't have nets out.

Shhh - pretend you don't see the Robin.

I see this little patch of cinnamon feathers on some of the Black-capped Chickadees that we band.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Final from Lowry

Finally catching up to the final species shots from last weekend at Lowry. We had a Mourning Dove pretty much oops into the nets. Thankfully we were all close - this is a bird who would not be caught for long! What a handful of bird! Check out her feet - maybe some frostbite?

White-breasted nuthactches really are a pretty bird - with a cool tail.

And finally - this Brown-headed Cowbird is trying his best not to look the villian he is.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Article on birds and diseases

Cool article published in Journal of Functional Ecology found by friend Becky - Song Sparrows as an example of how fever responses vary within species.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Lowry Banding

Since I am in the middle of writing a paper for class as well as getting settled in the new house, I am going to stretch the posts out a bit for each topic, so I have material to work with! Another handsome bachelor for consideration here - who says Red (bellieds) don't have fun?? This Red-bellied Woodpecker was a great treat in the nets. See how his red on his head doesn't quite reach his bill, though?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lowry banding April 17

Wow - come on ladies and check me out! This is one handsome male White-throated Sparrow! Note his long sparrow-y nails on his toes, too. We had a good day at Lowry Nature Center - 20 birds and 12 species! Birds are definitely on the move. Thought I would post a few pics of what it is that we do when we band the birds.

We take measurements of the tail, the wing cord (from basically your wrist to the tip of your longest finger), the 8th primary, or P8 (keep in mind some birds have 9, some have 10 primaries), and the final picture is what it looks like to actually put a band on the bird.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring in MN!

Feast or famine for the blog, huh? I might not be posting for a bit - only days before I close on my first home! It is a big, beautiful house that I am crazy about and can't wait to post all the birds that I can bring in there!

Today was a day to remember - in a T shirt on April 4, with good friends, and fantastic birds! Spring really feels like mid-May right now! Check out the Eastern Phoebe, with the rictal bristles around the bill - these help find those little bugs they eat.

Awwww - everybody all together now for the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. We messed up his hair so you can see how he gets his name.

And finally - two of my faves - a Fox and Song Sparrow!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Young Red Tail

Wow - what a day! First, beautiful weather. Then - getting to watch a young Red-tailed Hawk hunt around for a meal! This blog post is a little more lengthy with photos, but hopefully no one will mind. Talk about eye candy! This handsome girl started at the top of a stand of trees near my place, and made her way down to the ground. I have an idea she was looking for the remains of a previous meal - I found about 1/4 of a cottontail nearby. Enjoy the pictorial!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Golden Eagle 44

Check out The Raptor Center's blog that I maintain! There are some great shots (taken by me, so I might be a little biased) of test flying the Golden Eagle that got a transmitter last week.