09-05-14 Bird Field Note

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09-05-14 Bird Field Note

September 5, 2014

The Bird Crew shares updates on owl acoustic monitoring, songbird banding, and shrubby draw surveys.

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Bird Field Note Shrubby Draws, Songbird Banding, & Acoustic Monitoring Kate Stone 9/5/14

Shrubby draw surveys occurred just before a system of cold wet weather moved into the area. We saw large flocks of Vesper and Chipping Sparrows in all draws, and a large group of Western Meadowlarks in Partridge Alley. Sheep Camp led the draws in species richness.

Western Meadowlarks flushed from the ground in upper Partridge Alley.

Flocks of Vesper Sparrows gathered upon exclosures in upper Partridge Alley. This area saw little bird use in the past. It appears the addition of woody vegetation, debris piles, and exclosures increased avian activity.

Two family groups of noisy Eastern Kingbirds rested in the shrubs of Tongue Creek.

A pair of cottontails used a large debris pile for refuge.

The sunflowers spreading along the edges of the draws attracted many pollinators in addition to flocks of seed-eating birds. We expect American Goldfinch numbers to increase as more sunflowers go to seed.

Avian Science Center: Fall migration highlights 8/18-8/22/14 During the first full week of fall banding, capture rates varied by day, as is typical for migration studies.

Flycatchers of the Empidonax genus present a challenge to banders. The short tail length of this bird ruled out other “Empids” and supported identification as a Least Flycatcher.

Banders captured a male Cooper’s Hawk on the Ridge on Wednesday, August 20. Contrasting brown (old) and blue (new) feathers indicates fall molting. The red eye color marks the bird as adult.

We continue to run our Barn Owl detector on audio recorded in grassland and other open habitats. The most recent Barn Owl call occurred at Sheep Camp on August 23. The map below lists the dates of all detections since monitoring began in September 2012.

This summer we monitored for Flammulated Owls in the same area as Kerr’s 2012 observation. During the manual audio review, we found numerous vocalizations, several loud enough to indicate an owl in close proximity to the microphone.

Both the 2014 Flammulated Owl monitoring site, above, and the 2013 site, below, have relatively open forest canopies and larger diameter snags in the area.

Owl Audio Monitoring

Barn Owl

Flammulated Owl Boondocks
Single Hoot Song

Flammulated Owl Boondocks
Multiple Hoots Song

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08-25-14 Field Note