Day 3 was, just like days 1 and 2, full of some nice surprises. 🙂
We caught 20 birds, including 2 new species. Check it out:
To begin, allow me to ramble for a second about Northern Cardinals.
They have the strong, stout, cone-shaped bills characteristic of seed-eating species- think grosbeaks, finches, and even sparrows. The bill strength of these birds is incredible – imagine trying to crack open a tiny, round, stone-solid millet seed – you probably couldn’t without some sort of tool.
For Cardinals, that tool is their face, and for people handling them, that face is dangerous.
I am often asked if it hurts when cardinals bite – allow me to answer graphically:
Anyway, now you know. So, moving on!
We’ve been taking photos of catbird eyes this year to document the visible difference in iris coloration between SY and ASY birds. The Pyle Guide notes that HY/SY birds have gray-brown to reddish brown irises, while adults have dark maroon irises. Basically, in younger birds, the pupil stands out, and in adult birds, it’s harder to distinguish from the rest of the eye. Of course, it’s not a characteristic to use on its own, but from what we’ve seen this year, it’s possible to age them just by looking at their eyes! Not that I’d never go by that alone.
But I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂
We caught our first hatch years (HYs) this session! Meaning that they hatched this very summer and are just now venturing forth in the world with their new wings, like this little Carolina Wren.
Alright, lets get to our two new species CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED!!?!!?!
Red-eyed vireos are common breeders in northeastern forests; their song is characteristic of a summer day in the woods.
And that makes sense, because males can sing more than 20,000 times in a single day.
Seriously if you spend a day hiking in the right place you’ll probably go a little insane from it.
This day was also WVWA’s members only group visit to the station – they came on a pretty good day, birdwise (and weather wise, actually!).
And now, our second new species of the day which came as a total shock.
Like to the point where I got to the net and I’m 100% sure that I heard angels singing.
She was a surprise because in all of my many, many hours both working and birding at Crossways, I had never once seen or heard this species there, and neither had anyone else.
Sadly, orchard orioles have have been declining in recent decades in many parts their range, except in some areas, like the Great Plains. No one is sure why, though we can make guesses – the case with many songbirds (and the reason for the creation of the MAPS project).
They forage mostly on insects but also visit flowers, probing them for nectar with their thin, adept bills. They are a graceful, secretive species.
Well, I think that’s a good note to end things on, don’t you?