05-14-15 Bird Field Note

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05-14-15 Bird Field Note

May 14, 2015

Kate Stone's bird field note provides updates on avian science projects investigating Lewis's Woodpeckers, Common Poorwills, Long-billed Curlews, and Raptor migration counts and satellite telemetry.

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Bird Field Note: Kate Stone 05/14/15

We continue to monitor for color-marked Lewis’s Woodpeckers. So far we have re-sighted seven of the 12 birds marked last year.

Though some woodpeckers exhibit territorial behavior, we think birds are still returning and choosing nest sites. Several males are guarding previously used nest trees. We’ve seen some individuals, like this female, going in and out of cavities.

Egbert, the male Osprey from the Northern Center Pivot nest, bumped a woodpecker foraging in the top of a cottonwood.

4 A Bald Eagle bumped a different woodpecker from the nest tree he’s been guarding for over a week. This tree has been used by Lewis’s Woodpeckers every year since 2010.

On May 4th, we surveyed the main road system for Common Poorwills, coincidental with the mostly full moon; several studies suggest that poorwill activity is positively correlated with moonlight. We planned to use audio callbacks to detect poorwills, but at most places we stopped, the poorwills vocalized on their own. We detected a minimum of 18 poorwills, mostly in the steep, shrubby, mid-elevation hills. We attempted trapping one night, but encountered gusting winds and cold temperatures.

Sarah Norton from the Intermountain Bird Observatory found five Long-Billed Curlew territories and one nest over the past two weeks.

On May 7th, Sarah examined the eggs and estimated that the nest was complete 11 days ago.

We counted 124 migrating raptors this week. Accipiters made up the bulk of this week’s flight, followed by Red-tailed Hawks and Ospreys. As we near the end of the season, we expect daily totals to decrease.

After travelling over 1,700 miles from her win tering grounds near Galveston, Texas, Rapunzel spent most of the past week in the Missoula area. Upon arrival, she briefly settled along the Clark Fork River, about 10 miles east of Missoula. We raced to the site and were thrilled to see Rapunzel sitting on a nest! Unfortunately, there were two other adult female Ospreys competing for the territory, and Rapunzel eventually moved up to the Blackfoot River, spending time at the old Stimpson Mill site in Bonner. She then made a very brief visit to the Bitterroot Valley, where she most likely flew over the MPG Ranch, before heading southeast towards the Georgetown Lake area, her current location.

We took this photo just after Rapunzel displaced another adult female from the nest. Though we have received several photos of Rapunzel in Texas during the past two years, this was our first time seeing her with our own eyes since banding her in the summer of 2012. We were thrilled to see her transmitter fitting so well!

On December 4 2013, we captured an adult hawk showing characteristics distinctive to Harlan’s Hawks, a population of Red-tailed Hawks believed by many to be a separate species. She spent the summer of 2014 in the Yukon Territory and returned to the MPG Ranch this past fall to spend the winter. Currently, she is back on the same summer range she used last year. As with most of the raptors tracked with satellite telemetry, she showed high fidelity to her spring migration route.

Plains wallflower

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05-05-15 Bird Field Note