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Blog Birding #263

Monday, February 15, 2016 8:05
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Immature Accipiters trip up even experienced birders from time to time, and Goshawks more than most, particularly in places where they’re unusual. Jerry Liguori has a field mark your young Gos, shared at Hawkwatch International‘s blog, that might prove useful at certain angles.

One trait that is unpublished (or maybe I have, can’t remember) that I wanted to share is the faint “commas” along the base of the outer primaries that many juvenile and some adult Goshawks show. They are not nearly as visible as the “commas” on Red-shouldered Hawks, and typically only visible from the topside, so there are much better traits to rely on to identify Goshawks. But, with the innumerable images on line these days, it may come in handy for confirming the ID of some photos. It can also be helpful when telling Goshawks from Cooper’s Hawks from above.

The Malheur occupation is finally, thankfully, over, but the work of bringing the refuge back to the standards we all expect goes on. April Reese, at The Crux, writes a bit on how the occupation affected research on the refuge.

Last month, a flock of trumpeter swans alighted on the wetlands of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, repeating an annual ritual that dates back centuries. But for the first time in 80 years, biologists were not there to count them. 

The annual winter bird count, which dates back to 1935, provides key data on multiple species for a national migratory bird monitoring program. Biologists and volunteers count ibis, sandhill cranes, horned larks and other birds that stop at the refuge – an oasis in the high desert of the Great Basin.

Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you know birds played a role….. in the commercials? Nick Lund at The Birdist has more on that, and a revelation.

Within four minutes of the ad being shown, we came to a conclusion: a Silver Gull, the most common gull in Australia. A text from my friend Jason assured me that the North American Gulls Facebook Group – I would link but it’s a closed group – had reached the same conclusion even more quickly.
So, how’d the get an Australian gull? Not sure. The ad was created by the RPA agency, based in Santa Monica. No help there.

For Valentine’s Day, Laura Erickson shares a story about Pileated Woodpeckers and their eternal love, such that it is eternal, or love.

On Thursday afternoon, my doorbell rang. It was the boy next door—he looked SO excited as he told me that there was a “giant woodpecker with big red feathers on its head!” His friend was on the sidewalk, facing away from us, and I suddenly realized he was keeping watch on the Pileated Woodpecker. Just a second or two later, the bird took off. The three of us watched it flying low across a few front yards, and it lit in a big tree a few doors down. The boys are hoping to spy on it to find out where it sleeps.

For most of us in the ABA Area, Pine Grosbeak is a winter specialty, something to get excited about on the rare occasion they show up at our feeders. But for some, like Bruce Mactavish, they’re a regular feeder bird, even if a spectacular one.

Nice flocks of Pine Grosbeaks are forming in choice dogberry stands. American robins often associate with them. Last weekend while looking for the Fieldfare at Lumsden it was impressive to see the low hundreds of Pine Grosbeaks indulging on the limitless berries. Yesterday Ken Knowles, John Wells and I searched the Trepassey area for robins of which we found about fifty. There were also a nearly equal number of Pine Grosbeaks in the same area feeding on the excellent dogberry crop.  Ken and I stopped to photograph some of the Pine Grosbeaks that were presenting themselves to us left and right. There was high proportion of bright pink males, at least 66.6% of the total.

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