Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pinnacles Camping Trip

This past weekend we went on our group camping trip to Pinnacles National Monument. Besides camping, we went on a 7 mile hike and did a lot of great birding. I saw a significant amount of new birds that I've never seen before. It was awesome birding with a bunch of very experienced biologists! We got to see the endangered California Condor! They are seriously gigantic (9 foot wingspan!!!)! Other than birds, we saw a lot of other beautiful wildlife!

There was A LOT of this going on. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Redwood Creek

Today was the first time I banded at Redwood Creek. This site tends to catch more birds than the other sites, so I was expecting madness! Instead, it was a rather calm day with not too many surprises (beside a huge hole in one of our nets, probably from a deer running through?). We did catch a juvenile song sparrow and two juvenile chestnut-backed chickadees. Also, Sam found a hummingbird nest! Very cute! 

Male Bushtit. 

View from the banding station. 
Juvenile Chestnut-Backed Chickadee. This is what the chicks that were hatched in a nest of my hair probably look like now. 

A deer watching us. Maybe the culprit for putting that huge hole in our net!

Banana Slug

Hummingbird nest!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lagunitas Creek

Yesterday Cara and I banded at Lagunitas Creek for the first time and it was awesome! So far it is my favorite location to band at. We woke up at 4 AM and got there at 5:15, prepared for a very hectic morning at a new banding site. It was the smoothest set up yet! In fact, the entire day went very well. We heard and saw some new birds, including a Black-headed Grosbeak. It's an absolutely gorgeous location with tons of interesting critters!

View from the banding station.
Lagunitas Creek
A female Wilson's Warbler
Weighing the birds is one of my favorite parts of the process! It cracks me up sticking them in a little cup upside down.

Bullfrog Tadpole
A pair of Damselflies mating?
Birding and enjoying my work!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Miscellaneous Cool Stuff

So this week so far has been decently busy. We had one rainy day where we were stuck inside, but the rest of the days were pretty busy with a lot of birds. We have been catching more and more young birds, which is very cool, but also ends up being a challenge. This weekend we will be going on camping trip to Pinnacles, where we HOPEFULLY see some California Condor! 

A baby Anna's Hummingbird being fed some sugar water before being released. This guy was super fluffy and adorable!
Beautiful view of clouds passing through the mountains at the one study area.
A fledgling Mourning Dove. This guy must have JUST left its nest. It was about half the weight of an adult!
A female California Quail. These are one of the funnier birds around here. They don't fly very much, instead they scurry around awkwardly. Their call sounds like they're screaming "Chicago!"
Today we caught our first Olive-Sided Flycatcher of the season, a migrant bird. It is a VERY snappy bird. While trying to extract it from the net it kept trying to take a chunk out of me.
Here at Palo we have a few resident study species that we may particular attention to. One of these species is the Wrentit, a very feisty little bird with a lot of personality! Besides banding these study species with a silver band, like we do with all the other birds, we also color band them. Each bird gets a specific color combination. That way when we're out in the field and see a bird we can determine its identity.

Friday, May 13, 2011


On Wednesday we finally got to band our Chestnut-backed Chickadee nestlings! They were so squirmy and fat with little tufts of feathers growing in everywhere! I'm in love! 

They refused to sit still while we attempted to weigh them!
Putting the band on!

Busy Day @ Palo

On top of running around with 46 little children, we also caught 11 birds on a very overcast Palo day. Some birds were new and thus, pretty darn exciting for me!

A recaptured adult Steller's Jay.

Such a beautiful wing!

Our first fledgling! Such a tiny, fluffy little guy! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beautiful Day at Pine Gulch

An example of a brood patch. When a female bird is in breeding condition it loses the feathers on its belly and it becomes fluid filled. This helps to incubate the
eggs. (It is very disgusting looking)

Shelf fungi!

What an awesome view to have while at work!

Return of the Tags

Today we caught our first Swainson's Thrush with a GLS (Geo Location Service) tag! Months ago, PRBO attached these little tags to 35 Swainson's Thrushes before they left for their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. They returned in the spring and summer to breed. 

The GLS tags are very tiny devices strapped onto the birds that stay with them as they migrate. The tags record light intensity throughout the day to determine the time of sunrise and sunset, which can tell us approximately the bird's location!

We had a bet going on what day we would catch the first Swainson's Thrush with a GLS tag. Unfortunately, I did not win, but it is still very exciting!

Barely visible on the bird.

Snipping the GLS tag off. It fits like a little backpack!

So tiny!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So a few weeks back I got my hair cut outside. About a week later we check our Chestnut-Backed Chickadee boxes and the one nest is half made from my hair! I now have a special bond with these guys who hatched a few days ago. They're so disgustingly ugly and cute at the same time!

Busiest 3 bird day ever.

Amanda and I banded @ Palo today while Sam and Cara went to Redwood Creek for the first time. They may have gotten 30 birds...but we caught this beautiful Cooper's Hawk. We also caught our first Western Flycatcher of the season! 

Hold it like an ice cream cone!

Female Allen's Hummingbird