07-10-13 Bird Field Note

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07-10-13 Bird Field Note

July 10, 2013

This bird field note includes field observations from Kate Stone, updates on songbird banding from the Avian Science Center, and information about RVRI's kestrel monitoring.

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Kate Stone Field Note 07-10-13

The nests of many species contain young at this time. The begging cries of nestling Bullock’s orioles make finding their pendulum nests easy even in dense cottonwood vegetation. I found nests made of ungulate fur (above) and vegetation (below).

The male Bullock’s oriole delivers food to the nest, hanging upside down to place the food in the mouths of the hungry young.

I found this eastern kingbird nest at eye level in bitterbrush.

bitterbrush. Lewis’s woodpeckers finally returned to nest territories on the northern floodplain. They have nested in this cottonwood for three years, though red-naped sapsuckers currently occupy their historic cavity.

Female (above) and male (below) American goldfinches take advantage of maturing thistle seeds.

Four common yellowthroats continue to sing on the northern floodplain. At least one female nests near the songbird banding site. The males sing their loud, distinctive “wichity, wichity” song from the densest parts of shrubs, making visual detections challenging.

challenging. This gray catbird’s song contained fragments of the vocalizations of willow flycatchers, eastern kingbirds, and American kestrels. The Avian Science Center retrieved their third geolocator this week.

Magpies led me to my second dead fawn.

Since May 23rd, the Avian Science Center has conducted weekly territory mapping and nest searching in five woody draws. This week they completed their fifth survey of each draw. They found nests belonging to 4 of the 5 focal bird species, including dusky flycatcher (2 nests), lazuli bunting (2 nests), orange-crowned warbler (2 nests), and spotted towhee (5 nests). So far, three spotted towhee nests fledged, and one lazuli bunting nest failed at the egg stage. They observed few gray catbirds in any of the woody draws and found no evidence of active breeding.

Songbird captures increased this week, with cedar waxwings making up a quarter of the captures. Hummingbird activity also increased. The banders captured a new species, the purple finch, bringing our species total to 199. They deployed six new geolocators on adult gray catbirds

Clockwise from above: An unknown female hummingbird (possibly black-chinned), a gray catbird with a retrieved and a new geolocator, and an eastern kingbird.

RVRI monitors 38 potential American kestrel territories, 25 at nest boxes, and 13 at natural cavities. Kestrels maintain territories at 26 of the 38 nesting sites. Using the peeper camera, RVRI has documented eggs or nestlings at 18 sites. They also began deploying pit tags on adult kestrels this week.

The timing of breeding varies widely between nests. The young have fledged from some early territories (above), while females continue to incubate at others (below).

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