October 12, 2011

Mom, this one's for you

Last week, as I was telling my mother about the Cooper's Hawk we caught, she was complaining that my face was in shadow in the pictures. So, Monday, when we caught another Cooper's Hawk at Fry's Landing, I made sure to get better pictures. How many mothers can say their daughter caught a hawk for them? I hope these pictures pass muster, because it's not at all certain that we'll catch another hawk any time soon.  
So far this season we've caught two Cooper's Hawks, an adult female last week at Erie Bluffs, and a young male this week. In the spring we caught two Sharp-shinned Hawks, both at Erie Bluffs. It is not very common to catch hawks in our nets, we've been extremely lucky.
The beautiful young male Cooper's Hawk we caught on Monday
Amy with the Cooper's Hawk
Lauren and Frank determining age and sex

Volunteer extraordinare Frank Frisina with the Cooper's Hawk

Lauren again, not in the shadows.

Jessica Miller modeling with our famous guest
Our bird bag hanging rack that Amy and I made for the fall banding season. Each of the bags has a bird in it. There are probably over 60 birds in bags in this picture, from one net run. We caught a total of 141 birds on Monday, 107 of which were Myrtle Warblers. Needless to say, we are now very competent in sexing and aging Myrtle Warblers.
Mattie with our hawk guest
The real reason I volunteered to do the blog was so that I can put a bunch of pictures of myself up :)

We also caught a Blue-headed Vireo. That was the big excitement for the day, until we caught the Cooper's hawk, then everyone pretty much forgot about the poor little vireo. I mean, he's pretty cool, but not much can beat a hawk for excitement. As I was the one to remove both birds from the nets, I can say with confidence that the hawk was much more thrilling to extract. The vireo was more difficult, because it kept stabbing my fingers and wouldn't stop thrashing around. I had Amy's help with the hawk, so it went much more smoothly. Both birds went after my hands with their beaks, and of the two, the vireo was the more painful. Their bills have a sharp little point on the end, which makes it feel like someone jabbing your hands with a pair of tweezers. Repeatedly. They're quite powerful little guys, with lots of stamina, which means lots of hand-pecking.The hawk felt like a knock on the knuckle (he just hit my hand with the blunt part of his bill, didn't actually bite me).



Blue-headed Vireo

One last note:  the bird house and birds that pop up on the blog are part of Audubon's Birding the Net (I'm not sure if you can see them if you have not signed up on Facebook). 
If you have Facebook and want to do some virtual birding for a chance to win prizes, check it out: 


1 comment:

jeanlivingsimple said...

I came to collect a bird card and leave but was very taken with your interesting photos and post.:)