Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall season initiation or initialization?

For August the weather is seasonable, full of pest insects, and the usual migrants are appearing. This is the tail end for Yellow Warblers, Prothonotary Warblers, and Baltimore Orioles. With a high pressure overhead and today a southwest wind there was not much action birdwise. I did hear a few flyover warbler chips—this means that warblers were giving their chip call as they flew over-not flying warbler chips...

This female Prothonotary Warbler graced us with her presence. She did not cooperate to show you the white markings on her tail. This is the best method for determining hatching year males from females. It can be used in the adults but usually the adult males are glowing and the adult females are only beaming in coloration. The female tail pattern has reduced white and the gray and white on the tail is a blurry line instead of large white spots on a male and crisp delineation of white and gray on adult males.

I have to start the season with a quiz bird. This makes you better at identifying birds or so I am lead to believe. Here is part one:

Speaking of Baltimore Orioles earlier. Here is a nice adult female which I admit is hard to tell that the dark feathers are dark brown in the picture. Most times pictures do not do birds justice and here it makes it difficult for the observer to see what I am talking about.

This bird was also captured with a previously broken leg that had healed. Seeing the knob on the leg indicated it was not a fresh wound. The foot was working fine. We sent her on her way wishing her a safe journey south with most leaving the country for Mexico to Panama.

Quiz bird Part 2:

Note on the first photo you could see a split eye ring and a small pointed bill. It is not good to go off of bill color here. So how many of you have really looked at a bird. I may be causing you to look a little closer at the bird than you normally would. This photo shows the bird with wing bars. Are you getting closer to deciphering the bird?

How about a Hatching Year Wood Thrush to make you smile?! Why should you smile? Well, a Wood Thrush nest is one of the most sought after by Brown-headed Cowbirds to lay their eggs in. To see a young Wood Thrush means the species won this battle and raised a bird or two that were not cowbird offspring. Note the loose juvenile undertail coverts and the exceptionally gaping beak. You have to be cautious with thrush beaks because they always have some fleshy gape to them.

Okay the final part 3 of the quiz bird:

Note the white tail band that is present all year around unless of course it loses its tail feathers. See the yellow breast with fine blurry streaks on the flanks. The blurry streaks signifies it is a female. Great job if you deciphered this before the final clue!

Many thanks to our Director, Kim Kaufman, for pitching in today! Fall season people are not as enthused to volunteer with the temperatures and bugs and ugly birds-okay they are not as pretty as in spring.

Enjoy the early fall season because some of your all time favorites will be gone soon!

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