07-17-15 Bird Field Note

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07-17-15 Bird Field Note

July 17, 2015

Debbie Leick's field note shows Sandhill Cranes, songbird banding, and a mystery Sapsucker.

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Bird Field Note Field Observations, Songbird Banding and a Mystery Sapsucker 7/16/15 Complied By: Debbie Leick

More than twenty Sandhill Cranes foraged in the wheat on Indian Ridge.

Young bald eagles stretched their wings as they flew back and forth across the river.

In a bitterbrush shrub, three young Chipping Sparrows remained motionless while agitated parents scolded an intruder.

An Eastern Kingbird placed nesting material in this bitterbrush. Nest building so late in the season may indicate a failed nesting attempt as Eastern Kingbirds generally have one brood a season.

Sagebrush defoliating moths (Aroga websteri) damaged this sage plant and remaining foliage appeared webbed together (above). Nearby, a lupine’s leaves appeared afflicted with the same webbing (below).

We captured 14 bird species on our third day of summer banding. House Wrens and Gray Catbirds continued to dominate captures. We also caught an unidentified sapsucker that may be a Red-naped Sapsucker with aberrant plumage or could be a hybrid of two sapsucker species. A known hybrid zone for Red-naped and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers exists in Southwestern Alberta; in one study, 86% of sapsucker breeding pairs there were hybrids (Hudon 2001).

These pictures contrast the mystery sapsucker (top) with a female Red-naped Sapsucker (bottom) captured at the same site in September 2013. The Red-naped Sapsucker below showed brighter and more defined facial markings.


Previous Field Note

07-13-15 Bird Field Note