08-21-13 Bird Field Note

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08-21-13 Bird Field Note

August 21, 2013

Eric Rasmussen, Kate Stone, the Avian Science Center, and the Raptor View Research crew report on wild turkeys, cedar waxwings, an osprey fatality, and the 200th bird species found on the Ranch.

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Bird Field Note August 16th, 2013 Eric Rasmussen, Kate Stone Avian Science Center Raptor View Research Institute

Fifteen turtles bask on one log in the clubhouse pond.

me. A small group of turkeys feed in the open. The fox is no match for a turkey this size.

The shrubs around water’s edge crawl with insects and the warblers that eat them, like this northern waterthrush. Resident juveniles make up the bulk of the birds, along with a few early migrants.

This young yellow warbler gleans aphids from willow leaves. It practiced a song that was new to my ear, with hints of a typical breeding male song.

The final banding session of the breeding season occurred last week. The Avian Science Center captured many fledglings and observed a few females with signs of active brood patches. Many berry-laden shrubs enticed families of cedar waxwings and gray catbirds into the nets.

Streaks on the chest indicate hatch-year cedar waxwings.

On August 8th, Raptor View Research Institute (RVRI) equipped the last lone osprey chick with a satellite transmitter.

On August 8th, RVRI spotted one of the young from the entrance nest dead in a fence just south of the entrance gate. The bird had fledged just a few days before. Rob and Adam noted that the bird did not look like it died from hitting the fence; it looked as though something had tried to pull it through the fence.

fence. Brooke Tanner from Wild Skies Raptor Center x-rayed the young Osprey and found no evidence of broken bones or foreign objects. RVRI sent the body out for additional testing.

The early death of one of this year’s osprey highlights the low survival rate for first-year birds. Estimates of hatch-year mortality rates range from 75%-90%. Just one of the four osprey fledglings from 2012 survives. If it survives its second winter and travels north next spring, this will be the first known dispersal record of an osprey via satellite telemetry.

This year we started surveys of shrubby draws one week earlier than last year, in hopes to catch warblers and other early-season migrants. We picked up many more species in the draws this year; 38 species total with vesper sparrows as the dominant early-season migrant. We saw several other species uncommon to the draws during the breeding season. These included the western wood-pewee, brown creeper, yellow-rumped warbler, cordilleran flycatcher, rock wren, savanna sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, lark sparrow, and Brewer’s sparrow.

Species detected in shrubby draws on 8/14/13

Kate spotted the 200th bird species last week. This sage thrasher took 10 minutes to preen its feathers while perched in and around a black hawthorn in Tongue Creek. A mixed flock of vesper and chipping sparrows accompanied it. Missoula County has only four spatially imprecise records of sage thrashers, while Ravalli County has zero. Their dependence on sagebrush habitat makes sage thrashers a species of concern in Montana.

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08-15-13 Field Note