Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Bird Banding

It was a cloudy, cool day in Zuma Canyon. We were told the ticks were out.
We caught several interesting birds, most of which I have no (or bad) pictures of. Here are the few that are ok.

This is an Anna's Hummingbird. The first picture is blurry, but you can still see the beautiful colors on its gorget.
Clearly visible here are the growths around the hummer's left eye.
He had survived this long with them, so we could only release him and hope for the best. We do not actually band the hummingbirds. It is possible, but you have to have a special permit for it (and some very small tools). We take them back to the station and process them, meaning that we identify them and then age, sex and weigh them. Weighing them is kind of fun as you lay them on the scale on their backs and they don't put up a fight. They docilely stay there. They usually weigh a gram or so. All the other birds we put upside down in pill bottles to weigh (this keeps them from flying off).

Here is a female Nuttall's Woodpecker. She was aged as a hatch year bird (meaning she was born in the summer this year).
Her flight feathers had not molted yet as she was a hatch year bird, and they had been bleached through use/exposure to the sun.
Those feathers were much darker at the tips when she was born.

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