11-02-15 Bird Field Note

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11-02-15 Bird Field Note

November 2, 2015

Eric Rasmussen compiled this weeks bird field note. The note shows Pine Siskins, wild turkeys and raptor migration tracking.

Bird Field Note 10/30/15 Field Observations & Raptor Migration Compiled by Eric Rasmussen

A flock of 80 Pine Siskins visit the feeder daily.

On October 26th, a Vesper Sparrow showed up below the sunflower feeder. According to eBird, this record is 2-3 weeks later than the average “last-of-the-season” sighting in Montana.

An early flock of Common Redpolls visits the same feeder, on the same day, as the late Vesper Sparrow. We don’t typically see this species until November.

A Northern Shrike peruses the bird feeders, hoping to snag an unsuspecting siskin or redpoll that has eaten too much.

Wild Turkeys pick at the ground as they meander through the floodplain.

Chipmunks continue gathering food for a long winter nap. Last year our latest sighting was November 7th.

We recorded just 93 migrating raptors this week, bringing our season total to 3,323. Red-tailed Hawks and Rough-legged Hawks made up over half of the birds counted. We expect a similar species composition next week. We’ve had a slow month; we counted only 791 birds in October 2015 compared to an average of 1,712 in October 2012-2014. In previous years we’ve had multiple days with large flights in early October; this year we had just one big day (265 birds on 10/3).

We saw little movement from the seven new raptors with satellite transmitters, suggesting all have reached wintering grounds. The two Cooper’s Hawks have both settled on the outskirts of urban areas, one near San Julian, Mexico (orange) , and the other near Mexico City (blue) .

Two of the three young Osprey from the North Center Pivot Nest stayed sedentary in the last week (orange, blue). After spending over a month at Lake Hudson in northeast Oklahoma, the third bird (red) headed south to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Several of our Montana Osprey have used this area in the past.