Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It has been a pretty busy and enjoyable past 2 weeks. Yesterday we caught 52 birds in one day! We've been catching some cool new birds and I FINALLY got my wish of catching a swallow!!! We also banded some Barn Swallow nestlings today! :)

Hairy Woodpecker

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Juvenile Swainson's Thrush

Tree Swallow!

Northern Mockingbird! This guy was very exciting to catch. They're very rarely ever caught here. In fact this was only the 9th time in history that we've caught one!

Barn Swallow nestling!

So happy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day of Diversity

Today we had a lot of diversity at Palo. Caught an adult male Cooper's Hawk! So pretty! We also caught a male California Quail. Quail are one of the few birds we actually do not band because they are a game bird. I also saw my first baby quail today running around. They were so tiny and absolutely adorable!

A juvenile Bushtit. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


This past week we have been catching a good amount of juvenile birds! They often look similar to an adult, just uglier haha! Also, yesterday we went with one of our permanent biologists who studies Northern Spotted Owls to see some fledglings. We were told it could take up to 2 hours to find them. We got there and I spotted an adult right away! Then we found a fledgling! They look like little cotton balls! We later found another adult. Pictures will be posted on here shortly of those guys! 

Mourning Dove. Such a handful!

The tail of an Allen's Hummingbird. This bird was born this year and you can use the pattern of colors on the inner 2 tail feathers to determine the sex. Because it goes orange, black, green we know that this is a male. A female would not have black between the orange and green. 

No, the bird is not dead! This is how we weigh hummingbirds. Because of the way their wings move, if we place them on their backs they cannot flip themselves over and fly away. 

An adult Orange-Crowned Warbler. 

A fledgling Orange-Crowned Warbler. 

An adult Wilson's Warbler.

A fledgling Wilson's Warbler. They look so different!

Another shot of the adult Orange-Crowned. 

A female Bushtit. A couple posts ago I had a picture of a male Bushtit. You can determine the sex by the color of the eye. This is a female because of the white eye. Males have a dark-colored eye. 

For those that are curious, this is the type of net we use to catch the birds. 

Me and a Wilson's Warbler!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Farallon Islands

Yesterday was by far one of the coolest days of my life! The Farallon Islands is a small group (only about 200 acres) of islands 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco. PRBO has biologists out there year-round who conduct different types of surveys depending on the season. The summer is largely dedicated to seabird monitoring. The biologists are the only people who live on the Farallones and very few people from the outside get a chance to visit. They have food delivered to them once every 2 weeks. Because I also work for PRBO I got the chance to volunteer to do the food shop and bring it all to the island!

The food run was absolutely insane! It took 3 hours to do, cost 1110 dollars, and filled 4 carts! We worked until midnight packing the food and then got up at 4:30 to drive to the marina in San Francisco in the pouring rain. We got to the marina and received a call from  the island saying that the weather was too bad and we wouldn't be able to get out there. Luckily, we were able to make it out there yesterday instead and I was ecstatic that I managed to not get seasick once the whole trip!

Because there is no actual place to land on the island, they have to send out a small boat to relay all the supplies back and forth from the large boat to the island. So once we got there, the small boat met us out in the water, and I hopped on with some of the supplies. Then a huge crane comes and attaches to the boat and then lifts the entire boat with me in it out of the water and onto a landing pad. I got out and then started my tour of the island while they unpacked all the food. 

Species Seen on the Island:
-Western Gull
-California Gull
-Black Oystercatcher
-Brandt's Cormorant
-Pelagic Cormorant
-Brown Pelican
-American White Pelican
-Canada Goose
-Brant Goose
-Common Murre
-Elephant Seal
-California Seal 

Western Gull. During the breeding season the gulls get very aggressive. The entire time I was on the island all I could hear was their screaming. The biologists who do nest checks have to wear hard hats to protect themselves!

And this is the reason the gulls get so aggressive. They need to protect their babies!

A chick hatching out of the left egg. 

Common Murre

Male Brandt's Cormorant

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recap of this Week

This past week has been quite busy. With Sam and Amanda off to different parts of the country and being challenged by uncharacteristic rainy weather, Cara and I had a lot of work to do. Last Friday all the interns went on a tour of the Point Reyes National Seashore. We saw elephant seals, a gray whale, California seals, a Steller's seal, and a colony of thousands of Murres! 

On Monday I drove down to Stanford to visit my friend Matt, and dropped Xeronimo off at home. Then tuesday Xeronimo and I spent the day in San Francisco. Pretty cool stuff! 

One of the days last week I essentially got attacked by a river otter. We were banding near Pine Gulch Creek and we heard this loud call. What at first we thought to be a bird was actually a pair of river otters screaming at us. I got into the water to try and take a picture of them. One started coming my way and then at about a couple feet away it started to swim even faster at me and started growling and hissing. I ran away while the otter continued to hiss!

Tomorrow I leave on an AWESOME trip to the Farallon Islands! We have 4 or 5 interns living on the island who conduct research and they need food delivered to them every 2 weeks. It is a very strict process and they only allow certain people to get to the island. I won the chance to shop for the food for them and to deliver it all to the island! I will be taking a power boat out there and hopefully I will get the chance to explore the island a little and see some awesome new species! Let's hope I don't get seasick!

I'm seriously in love with this place!

Elephant Seals lounging on the beach. 

A closer look at the Elephant Seals

Furthest point west of the continental U.S.!

Warbling Vireo. So pretty!

Juvenile American Robin. Obviously, not very happy to be away from its parents. 

A very crappy picture of the little guy that tried to attack me!