04-06-13 Bird Field Note

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04-06-13 Bird Field Note

April 8, 2013

Kate Stone's Field Note shows long eared owls, snow geese migration, and the habitation of nest boxes.

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Kate Stone Field Note 04-06-13

This osprey perched on telephone poles around the Orchard House throughout the morning of April 5th. The raptor crew began observing migrating osprey this week. Eventually they saw this individual fly south. An early western kingbird challenges a western meadowlark for room on this rock outcrop.

outcrop. The bald eagle nest near the Guest House looks empty, though we see the pair sitting by it intermittently. An eagle incubates eggs on the nest across the river.

The influx of territorial raptors plus those migrating through poses challenges for our ground squirrel population. Their alarm calls fill the morning.

morning. 3,310 snow geese flew overhead this week.

week. This week we began mapping songbird use of the shrubby draws during spring migration. Early-season migrants include American robins, spotted towhees, and dark-eyed juncos. A flock of American robins gathered at this spring to bathe and feed.

One of many American robins enjoying the spring water.

Large numbers of European starlings arrived on the ranch this week. This pair impressed me with their long-billed curlew imitation.

A pair of long-eared owls continue to reside in upper North Draw. The male roosts in a clump of small Douglas-firs. The larger female flushed from this clump of mistletoe.

I found this long-eared owl and its partner roosting near a stick nest in a clump of young Douglas-fir.

Tree swallows returned and immediately began staking out their nest box.

box. Tree swallows nesting in sagebrush country used mostly sticks in their nest, while those in the grasslands close to the river used a mixture of grasses and feathers.

Last year house wrens used this box near the Tongue Creek corrals.

corrals. I found the remains of three baby bluebirds in this nest box.

The Say’s phoebes ignored the nesting platforms we set out for them and began constructing a nest on one of the spotlights above the Top House garage.

Though we no longer maintain carcasses for eagle trapping, we still get some interesting visitations, including this wild horse and a wolf.

wolf. New flowers continue to emerge, including kittentails, shooting stars, and biscuitroot.

winter wheat

seed pods

The elk move with the sunrise.

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