02-14-13 Bird Field Note

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02-14-13 Bird Field Note

February 17, 2013

Debbie Leick shares prarie falcon, and bohemian waxwing observations.

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02-14-13 Bird Field Note

More than 60 Bohemian waxwings adorn tree branches at the Top House. A species of the far north, they breed in North America’s boreal forests. As winter approaches, large flocks move south in search of berries, a staple of their diet.

Regular prairie falcon sightings continue around the ranch’s open areas. This bird, perched above Tongue Creek, patiently watches for its next meal.

Kate Stone discovered this cottontail fur scattered beneath a black hawthorne (above) and a dead black-billed magpie under the shrubs in Sheep Camp draw (below).

Plucked feathers and a gray partridge head (above) blanket the ground near Partridge Alley. A detached and chicken-like featherless foot (below) also rests on the ground.

White, fluffy fur from a snowshoe hare remains snagged in Sheep Camp’s brambles.

Kate collected and identified these plucked feathers she found on the ground. They include mourning dove (above), juvenile red-tailed hawk, and black-billed magpie (below).

Trained eyes detect long-eared owl whitewash splatters at a distance. In Sheep Camp, Kate found several pellets on the ground, near the whitewash, under these aspen.

In the north fork of Sheep Camp, Kate pieces together a story written in the snow. Numerous wings prints and cotton tail tracks suggest an owl, possibly a long-eared, swooped down on the rabbit.

Across the ranch’s grasslands, numerous grass piles lie neatly bundled on the ground. They appear to coincide with feral horse activity; piles of manure and telltale hoof prints dot the ground nearby.

Subtle signs of spring appear as a hardy dandelion sprouts a yellow blossom.

Previous Field Note

01-31-13 Field Note