Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Birding with Roberta

Friend Roberta knew of a nest on the ground that she had seen on one of her bluebirdbox checking missions. When we went to check on it, we realized it was from a Field Sparrow! One of the parents was only 30 feet or so away.

Cedar Waxwings are one of my favorite passerines. We saw a small flock on the bluebird outing, and guessed that they were nesting in the area. I have a couple of pics at the end of this entry that show a bird we got at Lowry. Note just one waxy tip!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A few weeks ago I went birding with friend Roberta, who monitors quite a few Eastern Bluebird boxes in town. She has a family at her home, too. She told me about some behavior where it appeared the male was slowly trying to wean the chicks to feed themselves. You can tell from this series of pics that she was right - the male led the chicks to a small plate of meal worms that Roberta had set out, but was very clearly trying to get the point across that his job was now down. This youngster was pretty tenacious, though!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Beautiful Buntings

Spring and Summer are officially underway when the Indigo Buntings are here! The male was banded at Springbrook Nature Center, and the female was banded at Lowry. These are birds that tend to be found along wooded lines, so you can see/hear them along trails next to forests and other wooded places in the metro area. Check out that two-toned bill!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Assorted Peregrines

Catching up with Peregrines. First two pics are from Locks and Dam in Mpls. Last photos are a few weeks old - they were taken at the banding at Wells Fargo in Bloomington. Four chicks that have already fledged there! The one photo shows both adults circling near the nest box, as the banders went to collect the chicks for banding.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Final - Birds from Frank's

Starting to get a backlog of photos to post! These are the final shots probably worth putting up from banding on Frank Taylor's land a few weeks ago. One of my all-time total favorite birds - the Bobolink! Check out the sharply-pointed tail! The final pics are an American Goldfinch and Bobolink heading off to hopefully raise the next generation (for us to band), and a Black-capped Chickadee with feathers coming in!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Little LIght Reading

Here are a few articles that pertain to birds:

How hormones affect breeding
Long distance Bar-tailed Godwit (and you thought your commute was long)
Urban habitat and birds (which will most likely be a part of my Master's thesis study)
And finally, how lasers help birds

Friday, June 18, 2010

Various and Great

Finishing up from Frank Taylor's land - here are some more great birds, in order:
Savannah Sparrow; an egg in the oviduct on a female Common Yellowthroat; Traill's Flycatcher; Song Sparrow and male Common Yellowthroat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bar Codes Can be Sexy

Well, I have extolled the virtues of Brown and Grey, so here is a little shout out to Black and White! Specifically - Black-and-white Warblers! There were two breeding pairs at Frank Taylor's land a few weeks ago. The males have more black, and a black chin - (first three photos here).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Duck Stamps and Bird Conservation

For the Sustainability class I just completed spring term, I wrote a paper on the effectiveness of the Federal Duck Stamp program. So many govt programs are created, but funds appropriated to support them often vary with the current administration. This obviously makes it difficult for programs to actually accomplish what they were created to do. However, 98 cents of every dollar collected for this program is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to buy or lease wildlife habitat. Formally known as the Federal Bird Hunting and Conservation stamps, they're a required purchase for waterfowl hunters. Millions of acres of land of all types, in all parts of the country, including national wildlife refuges and waterfowl management areas, have been purchased or leased with duck stamp money. These lands provide breeding habitat and migration rest stops for many species of waterfowl. They do the same for many more species of non-game birds.

The stamp costs $15. The 2010-11 version goes on sale June 25. You can buy them at most post offices and some sporting-goods stores. The 2010-11 stamp features an American Wigeon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Peregrine Time!

One of my most favorite things to do is be present when the Peregrine falcon chicks are banded in the Twin Cities' area. My job at The Raptor Center allows me to work with all of the Midwest state coordinators who band peregrine chicks for 13 states. It is a lot of fun to be a part of this ongoing research.

There were four chicks at the Colonnade building - three boys and one girl. They are banded at about 19-23 days old. Their legs are the size they will be as adults, so the proper band size will be put on. They are also not ready to fly yet, so will not be in danger of flying off a nestbox ledge. The first photo is the adult male preening outside the nest box - check out the view he has!

This last photo I took this weekend - shows what was on the menu! Looks like Common Grackle and Northern Flicker!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Catching Up

Familiar story for the blog - too many bird pictures and activities, too little time to get them up. House stuff and final paper for spring class - yaddah yaddah.

So often I celebrate "brown birds" (specifically the sparrows), but wanted to give a shout out to how great gray can be. At the bottom of the blog - Gray Catbird (see the top of the head for the jaunty little cap) is a sweet little number that you hear more often than see. one of them has recently found the suet at my feeders. See the rusty color under the tail that you often won't notice when they flit through the bushes?

And then - whoa! - GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER - AHHHH! What a seriously neat bird. Looks a little like a Mr Potato Head - all the parts look like they were just slapped together. Two-tone head, yellow front, red eyes, orange tail. Even the bill has different shades. Don't know a bander out there who doesn't think this is a jewel to get!