Thursday, July 29, 2010

osprey final

Just a few final pics before we change topics for the next post. Osprey have such a great wing shape and silhouette, don't they?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Osprey part 2

Wow - these chicks look pretty tough, don't they? Young osprey have orange-red eyes, which get lighter as they age. The adults have yellow eyes. The chicks are banded at around 5-6 weeks old, though there is a much broader range for this species to safely band in. The chicks cannot be banded too young, as the bands will just slip off. If they are too old, they might try to fly when they hear the folks come up to the nest platform to collect them, and we do not want them to be injured in an unsuccessful flight attempt.

This photo shows both the color band (which is green over black) and the federal band (silver). The bands are placed on the opposite legs of the peregrines.

This chick is younger than the one with the bands above. You can see how there are less feathers and more downy covering. Mark Martell is putting a band on the leg.

This is an egg that did not hatch, with a hand shown for size comparison.

This chicks are placed safely back in the nest platforms by an experienced tree climber, who is also a volunteer for The Raptor Center.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Osprey part 1

Every year I look forward to helping friend Mark with banding Osprey chicks in the metro area. I head to different parts of the metro area, and get to see some great aerial displays from the parents. I'll start out with a series of shots of one of the Osprey parents coming in to her nest platform.

Monday, July 19, 2010

More Purple Martins

Purple Martins really are a sexy bird. They are not quite up to maybe Matt Bomer level (White Collar), but they do have a mystique to them. Maybe a Kevin Spacey level? Anyway - here are a few more shots to enjoy. Next up - osprey and LOTS of songbirds.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Purple Martins

Last year, I was involved with a project to use color bands on Purple Martins to help learn, among other things, about some of their migration habits. The bands are easier to read than the standard USFWS silver bands, though those are still applied as well. Here are a few pictures from a recent banding session. The egg pictured here did not hatch and was removed from the nest box/tray. See how small they are? The next photo shows Mark Newstrom banding one of the chicks. It is a very delicate process (I know - I got to do 30 or so of them this year!) - you have to be careful of their fragile feathers, and their legs.

Here is a shot of one of the juvenile males that was banded last year - you can see his color band and the silver USFWS band.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Songbird youngsters

A few weeks ago at Springbrook Nature Center banding session, we definitely got a great surprise - a Yellow-throated Vireo! We could hear them (multiple) singing in the treetops, so we knew they were around. The best part? A female with a definite brood patch, which was definitive proof that they were breeders there!

This young American Robin has the telltale white "spots" on the edges of the coverts - can you see them here?

Also see how the spots that are indicative of a youngster are still seen, but he is getting his orange breast!

This young Northern Cardinal doesn't look like he does as an adult - not the dusky plumage. He is also getting his feathers in - you can see quite a bit under the wing - tendons, etc.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Baby Season

It's baby season! All over the metro, species of just about every kind have been able to adapt to urban situations. Take these Coopers Hawks and Red tailed Hawks - the Coops are in front of a hall on the University of Minnesota East Bank campus. Hundreds of students walk right under their tree every day. The two chicks look like they were just fed. Mom watched me from a nearby scaffolding on a building just next door.
The Red tails were hatched in a tree in south Minneapolis. Both actually have mailing addresses! The Red tails were learning how to hunt - or at least one of the three sibings was learning. One was watching from a nearby deck railing, and one was learning that on top of a nearby roof was not the best place to stay hidden from Blue Jays or Crows.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peregrines Redux

These photos were taken a few days prior to the ones that follow in the blog - meaning, the chick here is about three days younger than it was when pics were taken and already posted. As you can see - it takes a lot to learn to flex those wings!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More Gratuitous Peregrines

Okay, I am giving up on any appearance to deny my love for Peregrines. They are just too cool. Here are some more shots of two of the three youngsters as they are trying out their wings. Enjoy. Most likely this won't be the end of it.