Thursday, December 30, 2010

SD BIrds

Pretty cool raptors for book ends at my folks' place in SD. The Rough-legged was chilling at one end of some trees, and the Prairie Falcon was at the other. The last pic shows why the Prairie Falcon was around. Though they won't take enough to affect a hunting season or population by any means, the falcons do fill their tummies with pheasant in the fall and winter season around the place.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Banded Red-tailed hawk is 27!

This article from the New York Times is yet another great reason/illustration why we band birds!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Whooping Cranes to FL!

Earlier this week, five of the 10 young Whooping Cranes hatched in WI made it to their wintering home in the FL panhandle (St Mark's NWR). They followed ultralight planes. The other five birds will hopefully get to Crystal Springs (FL) soon. This is more good news - an aerial survey Dec 9 of the Wood Buffalo birds counted 223 adults and 45 juveniles. Follow Operation Migration for background and continuing stories of the Whooping Cranes.
Below I have posted a couple of pics from the March 09 trip tp Kearney, NE. We had heard there was one juvenile Whooping Crane in the area, with a flock of Sandhills. We did find him/her - the bird certainly stuck out with the white (and some orange, from the first year plumage) and a much larger size, among the Sandhills. It was odd to have this bird with the Sandhills - it should still have been with its parents, but seemed to do well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Young Red-tail

Actually BEFORE Snowmageddon (just one of the titles of the historic 17.1 inch snowfall that just fell here in the Mpls area) I took these shots of a first year Red-tailed Hawk. He was hanging out near Springbrook. Staff there said that a couple of days before, he had gotten himself a couple of squirrels. Makes sense - the feeders would have been kept full to make sure lots of birds would be coming in anticipation of banding. Squirrels love feeders/seed, too, and any quick-thinking hawk would take advantage of that.

Note that the bird does NOT have red tail! He won't, until he starts to molt it in next year. See how the first year birds get "training wheels", especially on their tails? The feathers are just a bit longer, and you can see if here on that white edging on the tail.

This final shot shows the hawk locating and taking off after possible prey!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Migration and Flight

Have to dig myself out of approximately 18 inches of snow. Here are a couple of articles on migration and flight to tide you over -

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What the Animals do at Night

My dad has a trail cam set up. Apparently there may be some consorting between species when everyone else is asleep . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cardinals in Winter

Anyone who has ever tried to photograph Northern Cardinals knows that they actually can be a bit challenging. There are not particularly accepting if you are nearby. Also never seems to be the right background for a truly nice photo. I actually got a little closer to some ideal shots this past weekend. The feeders at Springbrook were full with anticipation of banding this weekend.

This male dove into our footprints in the snow.

Juncos abounded with the cardinals.

This female Cardinal did get banded. What a sexpot, huh?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

White Ibis and Mercury

Always new info coming out on studies related to birds and toxins in the environment. This disturbing news, out yeseterday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B., demonstrates altered courtship in White Ibis related to mercury.