Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Great Fall Birds

Fall is one of my favorite times of year for many reasons.  One is - SPARROWS!  So many different species, and not enough time to see them as they pass through.

First pic - white-crowned on the left, and white-throated on the right.
And the cedar waxings!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bird Banding Misc

First three images are the FOY (First of the Year) American Tree Sparrow for me at recent Springbrook banding.  Had read that some folks in town were seeing them already, so nice to get one in hand.  See the bi-colored bill?

Brown Creeper.  Late to see one.  Hope it gets out of town quickly.

Last images are of birds near the feeders - with bands!  The Northern Cardinal has a band, almost covered in the leaves. 

This Red-bellied has a band (and a very flexible neck).

The White-breasted Nuthatch certainly availed himself with the seed set out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

OLD Hairy Woodpecker

Pretty exciting news to share!  Comes under the heading of "why we band birds."  At a recent Springbrook banding, had the 25th encounter with a female hairy woodpecker.  Turns out she might be a record breaker.  She was banded as a hatch year bird in October 4, 1998.  The current third-oldest record of this species in the Bird Banding Lab database is 14 years 3 months.  Depending on when the BBL will determine her hatch date, she could very well be 14 years 4 months.  How cool! 

Took some pics of the band that she has had this entire time.  It was getting very worn and thin.  Though she has never shown an injury due to this band in the 25 times she has been seen since original banding date, it was decided to give her a new, fresh one, and link to the number in the BBL database. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wood Ducks Made Me Do It

I was not unlike a crow entranced by a shiny object a few days ago.  Came upon some very accomodating Wood Ducks, and ended up losing about 30 minutes in rapt wonder.  I mean - look at that! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Raptors in Flight

Random eagle and Cooper's hawk flight pics.  Last couple of days have been feast or famine for birds hoping to move - high winds that assist, or rain that keeps them low/down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Slate-colored juncos

pre-basic molt
 Slate colored juncos (dark-eyed juncos) are some of the best birds to try out your identifications skills with.  The first two photos are ones I took in Duluth; they are of a junco who has not molted from the pre-basic molt.  They look more like the "sparrows" they are!  Normally by the time they have made it to the metro area in fall migration of their hatch year, there are few individuals who have this plumage. 

pre-basic molt

juvenile female
 The next two photos were taken in my yard, so birds were obviously not in hand, but appears to be that they are juvenile females.

juvenile female

adult male
 Ahh - here is an adult male that looks like what might be pictured with the species.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Yard Bird

Pretty excited to see this bird in the yard recently!  I've heard them around the neighborhood, but oddly enough haven't found a cavity in any of the breeding seasons. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Northern saw-whet owl

Lots of migrants moving through town, most notably northern saw-whet owls.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Downy, Hairy and Fox

Hairy Woodpecker left, Downy right
A recent banding program at Springbrook yielded the opportunity to have a Hairy and Downy woodpecker in the hand at the same time for some nice comparisons.  The size is of course the first detail - Hairy woodpeckers are much larger.  Their bills are also much longer in proportion.  And the red feathers (both males) do not make a complete span around the back of the head like a Downy.  Downy's also have bars on the outside retrices (tail feathers) and Hairy woodpeckers do not. 

Never pass up a chance to post pics of a Fox Sparrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Enjoyed a recent experience with a hatch year male merlin - what a guy!