Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13 - Winter Songbird Monitoring

Just when I thought it couldn't get any wetter in the has now turned into a virtual bayou. Walking to net 15 was quite treacherous, as there were several spots where the water was over a foot deep. I don't want to even know how deep it is out near 16!

Even net 7 was flooded out!

On the bird front, there were two new species banded today! Sharp-shinned Hawk and Red-shafted Flicker. Sharp-shinned Hawks are much less common in BC than Cooper's Hawks, and only a few have been seen out at Iona this year.

This feisty bird was a hatch-year male.

Not many flickers were seen during migration, but they have become a common winter resident. So it was only a matter of time before we caught one, or two as we did today.

Otherwise it was a rather pleasant day, as pleasant as December in Vancouver can be, to be at the station. It was warm and we even saw a little bit of sunshine. Recapture numbers continue to be quite high, but unexpected was of the 19 banded birds, 10 were Song Sparrows. It's difficult to say if these birds have been present all along or if they were recent arrivals. A number of the birds caught today also had a considerable amount of fat. The warm conditions of late may have allowed these birds to add on more fat or perhaps they are getting ready for a flight further south.

One final highlight was our second Northern Shrike banded, this one an adult. Volunteers have been warned about the dangers of handling shrikes because of their razor sharp bill. I can now offer evidence of what may happen if you are careless when handling one.

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