Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer, Summer, Summer...Birds!

While summer is a slower time for migration researchers, it is not for the birds who are raising young. Here are a few of the youngsters we have encountered during our summer banding sessions at Navarre, Oak Openings, and West Sister Island.

Hatching Year (HY)  Tree Swallow (TRES)
Most young will have loose juvenile feathers and remnants of a yellow gape around the hinge of their beaks.
 Hatching Year male Downy Woodpecker (DOWO)
HY Carolina Wren

Quiz bird from Oak Openings

Breeding bird studies are not without heat, bugs, and other challenges, but we have great volunteers who do not seem to mind the "not so pretty" jobs. Thanks for all you do!
Tom helps at Oak Openings and doesn't mind the heat.
Nor does the Viceroy who loves the salts on his hat!

Kelly does not mind the smelly job of banding herons and egrets on West Sister Island.

Mike also is in the spotlight with this Great Egret (GREG) chick on West Sister Island.

No one can deny that young birds may only be considered cute by their parents. What do you think of this Black-crowned Night-Heron (BCNH) chick?

Take time to notice the hatching year birds at your feeder or in your backyard. They look a little funny with their loose fluffy feathers, and usually act a little funny as well. 

Now about that quiz bird: It's a HY Lark Sparrow. The very short tail which is just growing in gives this one away, but HY sparrows can be a handful to ID.

Enjoy the beauty of the season!