Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Indoor and Outdoor Nest Work

I have been establishing a new work routine for the spring and summer. I spend most hours indoor writing papers and crunching data on nests sent to me from the Forest Service in New Mexico. Three days out of the week, however, I ride down to one of three parks to look for nests for a couple of hours. Since I don't get out much for fieldwork anymore, this allows me to stay in practice watching birds and collecting field data. The three parks I am monitoring are Noble Woods to the south, Dawson Creek Park to the North, and Orchard Park to the east. These parks are fairly different from one another and all support a variety of nesting birds.

Today, I checked out the nests and other birds at Dawson Creek. Yellow-rumped warbler males are still all over the place and brighter than ever. Orange-crowned warblers have returned and are stirring in the underbrush, perhaps prospecting for nest sites.

If you look closely you can see a mallard family and a great egret in there.

Some of the bushtits have completed their nests and are probably incubating. A few others are still under construction.

Can you see the bushtit nest among the branches?

The great-horned owl nest is now occupied by two large, fluffy nestlings and Mother Goose is still incubating on her island.

Three great blue heron nests are active in the big Doug fir by the library. Nearby, I spotted an American robin, a pair of bushtits, and a black-capped chickadee building nests in adjacent trees. With all this great nesting behavior going on, the Great Blue Heron Week event I am planning here in June should be a great success.

On the way out of the park, I checked out a large nest that I have suspected belongs to a pair of red-tailed hawks. Sure enough, I spotted an adults head peeking over the edge.

Speaking of red-tails, I the eggs visible on the KGW Raptor Cam hatched today! At 1:00 pm, I spotted one white, downy chick and one wet, pink chick. At 5:20 pm, they had footage of all three on KGW.

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