[cayugabirds-l] Halloween 'scare'

2013-10-31 Thread Chris Pelkie
Before dawn, under the thin overcast at 645am today, I was walking the dog. It 
was pretty dark, though Jupiter and the Moon briefly peeked through the clouds. 
As we approached the house, the dog froze (probably deer or something I didn't 
hear) but I looked up and in the gloaming saw  7 TURKEY VULTURES on the wing. 
That was weird; never saw these guys flying at this time of day (night). First 
thought: giant vampire bats returning from a night of blood-drinking.

Have a Happy Halloween and KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!

ChrisP

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Interesting Bluebird

2013-10-30 Thread Chris Pelkie
Walked out of the back of the Lab at noon and first bird was an EASTERN 
BLUEBIRD M, vocalizing 'qwer-wert' repeatedly, a plaintive two-note phrase. 
That was interesting but the remarkable behavior was when he flew from a 
'normal' twig perch over the trail and stuck it on the side of a tree's 
vertical trunk (with rough bark) just like a woodpecker or actually more like a 
nuthatch, as he was facing down at about 45 deg. He seemed very comfortable 
there for the 10-15 sec he stayed, watching me, then he flew again to a twig 
perch. He wasn't being pursued and had numerous normal perches available. I 
can't say I've ever seen this behavior from a thrush. Have you?

He was soon joined by a second M and the two counter-called the same two-note 
phrase for a while.
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Night Heron sp. (yesterday)

2013-07-23 Thread Chris Pelkie
Just before the rains came last evening, while walking the dog in my backyard, 
I heard a single 'qwok' looked up and saw a largish winged bird flapping 
rapidly NW which would be more or less on a path from Sapsucker Woods to Cayuga 
Lake (or many other ponds along the way).

Listening to all readily available recordings of Black-crowned and 
Yellow-crowned Night Herons convinced me it sounded more like BCNH. But the 
wing profile was rather narrow (leading to trailing edge) and the bird seemed 
overall rather darker blue. Googling flying Night Herons, I found more YCNH 
images that looked like that, whereas BCNH seemed to have a fuller rounder wing 
profile.

So, nice NEW yard bird, but semi-unsatisfying that I couldn't nail it to 
species.

I saw no reports on this list from anyone observing either at SSW yesterday. 
Did anyone?
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Alder Flycatcher SSW

2013-06-12 Thread Chris Pelkie
730am: (OK, I know this looks like a repeat of yesterday, but...) Singing ALDER 
FLYCATCHER giving good views in the power line cut, from near the pole with the 
nest box which is in the middle of the cut (sorry, I had forgotten there is 
also a box on the pole near where the cut joins the Hoyt trail).

I recorded this guy as well, since again I didn't have the camera (but as we 
know, the Alder looks just like the Willow I didn't shoot yesterday so the 
pictures would have looked alike). I did not hear the Willow today except when 
I brought up yesterday's recording to my ear and played it while the Alder was 
singing just to be double sure I wasn't crazy! Yes, Willow second note drops, 
Alder second note rises and they sounded just like the iBird samples I had with 
me. However,  I will have Jay give a listen when I see him to double-check me.

Hey, remember what that great philosopher Hopalong Cassiday said: If you come 
to a fork in the Traill's, take it!
(all right, I'm probably going to regret that)
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Willow Flycatchers SSW

2013-06-11 Thread Chris Pelkie
745am: Singing WILLOW FLYCATCHER giving good views (me with no camera) in the 
power line cut. I did record the song on the iPhone. Go to the nest box pole 
and he's moving back and forth in the taller trees toward the south, 
occasionally landing on the wire or smaller trees on north side of cut. There 
is also an invisible but easily heard second WIFL in the 'swamp sparrow' field.
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Couple observations at SSW this morning

2013-06-04 Thread Chris Pelkie
As I crossed the bridge from the parking lot toward Fuller Wetlands, I found 
the remains of a turtle nest that had been under the bark mulch trail. 
Something -- skunk, raccoon, mink, etc. -- found it, dug it up, and pretty 
thoroughly shredded the 12+ eggs. I took a couple pics with the iPhone just for 
documentation (nothing too artsy here, so not planning to post). Herpetologists 
may want to go out to ID the species before the shells dry.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO seems to be defending territory between Fuller and the 
Lab bldg as it has been actively singing for several days now. LEAST FLYCATCHER 
was che-beking loudly yesterday and heard again today in the same area (north 
Wilson trail). (I also heard and saw a singing BROWN CREEPER near Sherwood 
yesterday).

I only had time to make the north Wilson loop but as I walked back by the pond 
I stopped at the opening by the outlet to scan and found a GREEN HERON sitting 
prominently 20' up on the horizontal branch of the big willow. It was calling 
and preening, calling and preening, so I iPhone recorded a few calls (Tascam 
makes a free recorder app). During that sequence, another heron called from 
closer to the Lab. I didn't think it sounded at all like Great Blue (which of 
course were present) or this Green, so had hopes for maybe a Black-crowned or 
Egret or something, but that did not pan out. The Green Heron on the willow had 
bright orange legs.

As I took a last look from the dock before going into work, I spotted activity 
on the island and saw another Green Heron, this one with yellow legs, but not 
calling. Did not see any other 'croakers' (and no, it was not a Bullfrog, 
though there are some monsters this year in the pond!).

Then I spotted the MINK swimming from the lab shore out to the island: very 
able and swift swimmer. At one point, a Red-winged Blackbird dove at it, so it 
submerged and popped up a few feet later. It crawled onto the island where some 
upset female Common Grackles and RWBBs started hopping around on branches. 
After only a minute or so, a group of male COGRs (6-8) came hurriedly over from 
the feeding station area and along with the female birds starting low-level 
strafing attacks on the mink which was now leaving the island, swimming rapidly 
to the north shore, this time with a BULLHEAD (fish) clamped firmly in its 
jaws. While some of the birds got very close, I never saw an actual strike and 
the mink disappeared from my view under the bushes at pond's edge, apparently 
with catch still intact.
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Blue-gray Gnatcatcher oddness

2013-05-31 Thread Chris Pelkie
I just took a brief lunchtime walk on the northern part of Wilson Trail at SSW.
I saw a small bird flit to a low shrub only 10-12' from me, got on it and ID'd 
it as a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.

Then, it flew down to the bark mulch in full sun, spread its wings and wing 
feathers as wide as possible, pressed its belly to the mulch and flattened its 
wings on the mulch, fluffed up all its back feathers, opened its mouth wide. 
Sat there for 15 seconds or so. Hopped up into a bush for 15 sec or so, then 
repeated the spreadeagle (spreadgnatcatcher, I guess) in a different spot.

I thought the first time it might be 'anting', the behavior I've heard of 
(correct me if this is an old wive's tale) of some birds letting ants bite them 
to get the formic acid rush which either repels parasites or feels better than 
the parasites themselves.

But when I walked forward I saw no ants or anthills or holes at the spots the 
bird had just used.

No other birds obviously nearby so not apparently a display.
Ideas?
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] More Wilson's on Wilson's

2013-05-15 Thread Chris Pelkie
Three first of years on this afternoon walk at Sapsucker:

I found a nice male WILSON'S WARBLER right down low in plain sight a few feet 
in front of me, just off the pond where Wilson's Trail turns up the small rise 
before the footbridge also around 1330 today, so maybe a different bird than 
Laura's.

Heard what was very likely a RED-EYED VIREO as the phrases were far more 
frequent than the recent Blue-headed Vireos seen here.

PURPLE MARTIN flying over the pond, not in full breeding plumage (whitish belly 
with brown markings on underside and breast.

Also heard SCARLET TANAGERS, one singing a lot, the other singing, then 
calling, but both in too thick a canopy to see. Laura got us on one on the 
Saturday bird walk at Park Preserve, so these were second and third of year!

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Yard Hawks

2013-05-13 Thread Chris Pelkie
Would you describe your oriole feeder in more detail please? I impaled a half 
orange on a screw through a piece of cedar attached to the top of one of our 
feeders in the yard, but haven't seen any visitors (or peck marks) in a few 
days, though one or two BAORs are actively singing and moving around the trees. 
Maybe they want expensive blood oranges? (:-)

Thanks.
ChrisP

On 20130513, at 13:05 , Bill Mcaneny wrote:

 The best watching this a.m. is from our kitchen window.  A Red-Tailed Hawk 
 just flew thru the side yard pursued by a Male Cardinal (At least one pair 
 nests next to the house.) The female cardinal sat complacently beneath the 
 platform feeder with the song and chipping sparrows and a chipmunk.  Earlier 
 this a.m. a Cooper's hawk flashed thru the yard in pursuit of a Red-Bellied 
 Woodpecker. The woodpecker escaped, although its heart rate must have soared 
 just shy of a seizure.  The Cooper's then sat in the big tree in the back 
 yard, waggled its tail for a minute or so and then was escorted off the 
 property by 2 male Redwings (brave birds to chase a hungry accipiter).  
  
 Shirley put out fresh pieces of orange for the Orioles, plus fresh jelly 
 (today they get blueberry).  Also fresh sugar water for the Hummer.  A crow 
 sat beneath the suet feeder for a while gleaning the scraps left by the usual 
 3 species of woodpecker.  No little migrants today but maybe the hawks have 
 kept them in hiding.
  
 Bill McAneny, TBurg
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Fun and (minor) tragedy at SSW

2013-05-10 Thread Chris Pelkie
Unfortunately almost the first bird of the day was a BLACK-THROATED BLUE 
WARBLER who sang once as I stepped out the back door of the lab, then flew up 
from a perch probably on our BBQ grill a couple feet from the windows, smacked 
it, broke his neck and fell to the ground. I picked him up hoping for a revival 
but it was not to be, so he will soon be an educational device in the skins 
lab. Seemed to be not quite in full breeding color. These windows have black 
see-through curtains to help cut down bird strikes but they didn't help this 
time.

Coming back out after putting him inside, I saw the 2 GREEN HERONs reported 
yesterday fly one after the other across the pond to the snag tree near 
Sherwood. Also watched one of the nesting GREAT BLUE HERONs bring a new stick 
to the nest where it was gratefully accepted by the mate who raised neck and 
bill straight up and made the peculiar throaty noise reserved for such an 
occasion.

Walking around the pond got looks at YELLOW-RUMPED and YELLOW WARBLERs, my FOY 
MAGNOLIA WARBLER foraging and singing quietly, heard OVENBIRD, heard and saw 
HOUSE WREN(s), heard BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, thought I might have heard 
Black-and-white, but when I went to check the board at the front desk, found 
that Brad had posted Blackburnian so maybe I heard a trace of them (not 
claiming either). 2 BARN SWALLOWS flew over, and more than one BALTIMORE ORIOLE 
was singing. A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was heard a couple times. Singing BROWN-HEADED 
COWBIRD, Chickadees, Robins, Titmouse were all noted.

Highlight though was that while at the base of Sherwood, almost ready to walk 
out to the platform where I might have come across the Kentucky Warbler that 
Brad and Mary found only a short time earlier (! drat !), I heard really 
intense crow mobbing SW of the platform back in the thicket of pine. After I 
listened for a bit, I said  'that is NOT a hawk, it MUST be an owl; oh boy, 
these guys might have found me a Barred Owl!. So I had to go all the way 
around by the bench, then to the trail fork onto West Trail, the mobbing 
getting more intense as I got closer. Scanning high and low and realizing the 
mob was down in the thick part, I finally raised glasses and 50 yds away saw in 
full front view on a branch, the GREAT HORNED OWL looking back at me. A few 
seconds later, one of the crows, literally sitting 2' away on a branch, lunged 
at the owl and everyone flew off into the forest.
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Not a Kentucky at SSW: correction

2013-05-10 Thread Chris Pelkie
Through a miscommunication now authoritatively corrected, the previously 
mentioned Kentucky Warbler this AM was a NASHVILLE WARBLER (which I still 
didn't see).
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Green Heron(s) on SSW pond

2013-05-09 Thread Chris Pelkie
I watched a GREEN HERON vault from the base of the big leaning willow to catch 
a fish at 710am. This was in the same spot the Prothonotary Warbler HAD been 
(not there now) a couple days ago, just for reference, that is along the north 
edge of the big pond. If flew toward shore with its catch so was then out of my 
sight.

Shortly after, the same or a second Green Heron flew from the center island to 
the 'boulder' island (between snag and observatory) and spent a time moving 
slowly up through the open branches of the taller trees giving good views. This 
bird seemed appreciably smaller than the fishing bird, so it may be 2 
individuals. It may also be the same one who flew to the island while i was 
looking around, spotting an EASTERN KINGBIRD on the berm as I did yesterday at 
noon. A BALTIMORE ORIOLE was the most prominent singer/caller.

As I got out of my car, I saw activity in a tree off the NE corner of the Lab 
and saw small birds pestering a RED-TAILED HAWK who flew up from the branch and 
over the building holding a large varmint with a rat-like tail, possibly a 
MUSKRAT.
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Prothonotary etymology

2013-05-06 Thread Chris Pelkie
In case, like me, you were wondering where that odd word comes from...http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/protonotaryprothonotary warblerSyllabification: (pro·thon·o·tar·y war·bler)Definition ofprothonotary warblernouna North American warbler, the male of which has a golden-yellow head, breast, and underparts.Protonotaria citrea, subfamilyParulinae, familyEmberizidaeOrigin:late 18th century: named with reference to the saffron color of the robes worn by clerks to the pope(seeProtonotary Apostolic)
protonotarySyllabification: (pro·ton·o·tar·y)Pronunciation:/prōˈtänəˌterē, ˌprōtəˈnōtərē/(alsoprothonotary)Definition ofprotonotarynoun(pluralprotonotaries)chieflyhistoricala chief clerk in some courts of law, originally in the Byzantine court.Origin:late Middle English: via medieval Latin from late Greekprōtonotarios, fromprōtos'first' +notarios'notary'http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=prothonotaryallowed_in_frame=0prothonotary (n.)alsoprotonotary, mid-15c., "principal clerk of a court," from Late Latinprothonotarius, from Greekprotonotarios"first scribe," originally the recorder of the court of the Byzantine empire, fromprotos"first" (seeproto-) + Latinnotarius(seenotary). The-h-appeared in Medieval Latin__Chris PelkieResearch AnalystBioacoustics Research ProgramCornell Lab of Ornithology159 Sapsucker Woods RoadIthaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] SSW this morning

2013-05-03 Thread Chris Pelkie
I walked around WIlson starting at north and circling the pond. Lots of singing 
HOUSE WRENs, a couple GREY CATBIRDs in song, many other regulars.
I saw 3 adult GREAT BLUE HERONs: 1 on nest, and 2 widely separated on the 
'back' (south) pond all at the same time. There was also a flyover later on my 
walk but I don't know if it was one of the previous 3.

No warblers that I could pick out but Mark probably could. However, near the 
pavilion on south Wilson, I heard exactly one phrase from a WARBLING VIREO. 
Then it shut up and put on the invisibility cloak. I know what group of trees 
it came from but gave up looking and listening after 5 min.

Love the Mink story, Dave. I believe I found a mink den, visible from Podell 
Boardwalk. A bit hard to describe, but enter the boardwalk from the lab, go 
about 30' then look northwest (toward the pond). I was hunting for the Green 
Heron (last week) that I had just seen fly across and land on the south side of 
the berm, when instead I spotted the mink moving around near a 'beaver dam' 
like pile of sticks with entrance hole up on the land, and after a few more 
minutes lying there sunning itself. The tricky bit is that you must be lined up 
with a lot of intervening trees and stumps to see this. Certainly without the 
mink moving, I never would have noticed it.

As I was about to enter the lab with nothing new but the elusive vireo, I 
looked one last time from the bridge toward the pond and there 30' away on a 
floating log was a SOLITARY SANDPIPER. Very good looks, it even turned for me, 
but as I started to walk away satisfied with a new year bird, a CANADA GOOSE 
came over and gave it a goos(ing) so it flew a short distance toward the 
feeding area.

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] More good stuff at SSW

2013-05-02 Thread Chris Pelkie
Mark reported many neat things, several of which I had also this AM. I started 
off by watching the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT circling the snag a couple times 
before landing on the end of the long horizontal branch point south. This 
seemed to cause no distress (at least no franking sounds) from the nest bird. 
It did make quite a nice sight glowing in the 7am rising sun. Could you see it 
on the nest cam?

Yesterday I was pleased to add DC Cormorant to my yard list as I saw a flight 
of 6 'funny looking geese' coming at me from a distance and couldn't think why 
6 geese would be moving in that formation at 645 am on May 1. Had the binocs 
though and got a good look as they passed over. I noted these had their tails 
flared out in the wedge shape. Looked at lots of Google images of 'cormorant 
flying' and it seems they don't always show this flare in flight. The snag bird 
flared its tail upon landing.

Also on WIlson-Severinghaus this AM, my first of year GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER 
also gloriously yellow in the morning sun, wheeping but not singing and 
actively flycatching. BLUE-HEADED VIREO occasionally singing and foraging: good 
looks at his prominent spectacles. Loud and persistent BROWN CREEPER singing 
from at least 2 birds. Brad Walker came by and said he had 3 birds the day 
before in the same area singing. One song from the BLACK-THROATED GREEN 
WARBLER, not seen today, but I heard and found it yesterday in the binocs in 
about the same place. OVENBIRD(s) singing. Lots of YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER 
activity: multiple birds interacting in some cases; yesterday I watched a group 
of 3 doing the 'flicker-flicker' pole chasing thing together, then later either 
the same 3 moved down the trail with me, or another 3 were doing the same 
thing. At the same time, a 4th YBSA was pestering a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER who 
liked the same tree.

I heard one of the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHs over in the Woodleton bog without even 
crossing the road.

All this is to say: get up early tomorrow and come up to SSW!

On the subject of getting fooled by mimicry or similarity:
Someone recently mentioned how the EASTERN TOWHEE can yelp in a way that sounds 
rather like Great-crested Flycatcher and indeed when I got home yesterday, I 
thought I had my FOY yard GCFL. Later in the afternoon, we heard and chased 
down the full song and view of the Towhee. I had heard the full song last week, 
but this was the first visual this year.

Yesterday at SSW as I walked under the power line toward the Rail/Swamp Sparrow 
field (the Rail was not heard by the way), I heard EASTERN MEADOWLARK. Since I 
had heard and seen one a couple weeks ago in this same spot, I started scanning 
the low treetops for it. Moved further into the field and now heard it behind 
me. I finally concluded it was the very active EUROPEAN STARLING sitting up on 
the power pole with his mates. He did a number of other talented whoops and 
whistles.

And I watched the GREY CATBIRD on Sherwood Platform yesterday as he did an 
amazing song set, including a very good Northern Waterthrush. I've had NOWA 
right around the platform in the past, but this Catbird was good! They are just 
so full of song when they first arrive before settling down to meow-ing the 
rest of the summer.

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Brown Thrasher singing SSW

2013-04-19 Thread Chris Pelkie
I think BROWN THRASHER has been reported earlier this season at Sapsucker, but 
this morning at 730ish, one was perched in a 20' high shrubby tree just north 
of the lawn at entrance to power line cut (that is, right across from the 2nd 
parking lot), but was more easily seen from the 3rd parking lot looking South. 
(I noted the tree since there are much taller ones available, but this guy 
seemed happy at a lower height, maybe due to the wind gusts.) He sang quite a 
repertoire, seemed to be flushed by either a bus or a loud pedestrian 
(screaming into his cell phone while I was trying to record, sigh), but then 
returned to the same perch and started in again. He (the thrasher, not the 
pedestrian) does a lot of Robin, and they are responding, so it took me a 
second to realize it was a mimid after he threw in a variety of other chortles 
and impersonations.

While standing there, first a female EASTERN BLUEBIRD, then a brightly colored 
M appeared, inspected me inspecting them, and seemed to be puttering between 
the tree by the chain and the undergrowth next to the parking lot.

I didn't have time to check the marsh today, but yesterday spent half an hour 
at this same time of morning listening to the VIRGINIA RAIL who was singing 
almost constantly from the same place as we heard him earlier this week. Again, 
I heard no response from another rail.

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Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods Birds Rail and other birds

2013-04-17 Thread Chris Pelkie
I wanted to thank Brad (who I do see in the hallway occasionally) for reminding 
me that the strange sound that put me onto the Wilson's Snipe is called 
'winnowing'. I had forgotten I knew that word.

And thanks to Tom Schulenberg who I did see in the hallway for explaining that 
my field guide continues the confusion on Snipe naming, by showing a Common 
Snipe and a Wilson's Snipe with overlapping ranges. Tom told me that Common 
Snipe was once accepted as the name for both North American and Eurasian 
snipes, but now Wilson's denotes the NA species and Common refers only to the 
Eurasian. If I explained that incorrectly, please adjust, Tom or other expert! 
Thought others would like the refresher.

So I have recorded the winnowing rapidly-descending angular-winged and 
long-billed silhouette I saw as my FOY Wilson's Snipe (on Monday).

Cheers,
ChrisP

On 20130417, at 07:58 , Brad Walker wrote:

 Hi all,
 
 I was able to hear the VIRGINIA RAIL calling in the wetlands near the airport 
 this morning. I first heard it when still on the main road, then after about 
 5 minutes, it began calling more often. There was also a beautiful WILD 
 TURKEY with a well-trimmed beard walking around the area.
 
 The pond still has several COMMON MERGANSERS and a PIED-BILLED GREBE. These 
 were joined today by two male AMERICAN WIGEON along the Wilson Trail North.
 
 Not at the lab, but in the area was a calling EASTERN TOWHEE near Sanctuary 
 Drive.
 
 - Brad
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[cayugabirds-l] Virginia Rail at Sapsucker

2013-04-15 Thread Chris Pelkie
I went over to the northeast bend of Brown Rd (S) for sparrows this AM but 
batted out on Vespers and Savannahs. I found SONG SPARROW, CHIPPING SPARROW, 
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW by the third parking lot along with EASTERN PHOEBE, TREE 
SWALLOW, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, and Starlings, Robins, Jays, Crows, Chickadees, 
etc. Then hearing trilling that didn't seem long enough to be Chipping, I 
started for the marshy field to the east of the parking lot. Just as I turned 
in that direction, a strange call put me on a rapidly descending Snipe sp. 
(just a silhouette) who landed in that field. After reaching a good view of the 
marsh grasses and shrubs, I easily found singing SWAMP SPARROW in numbers, some 
sitting high on low shrubs to give good views while trilling. In between 
traffic noise, I clearly heard the kid-DICK kid-DICK kid-DICK of a VIRGINIA 
RAIL male song several times, at intervals of several minutes. Never saw it as 
it was down in the weeds. No response calls.

For a day promising to be nice later, I got sprinkled on twice by cold rain in 
the hour I was out. Birding!

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Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS at Sapsucker Woods

2013-04-03 Thread Chris Pelkie
Google Glasses are the answer. Soon they will be able to:

1. Record everything you see so you can prove you are not wacky (this will be 
necessary since you will look wacky with the glasses on)

2. Project anything you aren't seeing but would like to into your field of 
view. This will help with some of those troublesome life birds. Much easier 
than pishing for hedgerow birds.

This will change birdwatching forever! (8-)

ChrisP

On 20130403, at 05:05 , nutter.d...@me.com
 wrote:

 Thanks for the details. I had a few thoughts about your report:
 1) Anyone who is still at work after 5:30, who sees something wished-for but 
 wildly unlikely which no one else has seen and which mysteriously disappears 
 the moment they glance away... mybe that person has been working too hard.
 2) Every serious birder should have a buddy on speed-dial who they can call 
 without even looking at their phone so the buddy can report the rare bird to 
 everyone else, while the observer continues observing until someone else 
 arrives. I lost track of the Tufted Duck while texting, and I've heard 
 others' similar stories. 
 3) The Lab needs to put a few of its high-quality cameras on the building 
 facing out to verify some of these crazy reports, such as fly-by Little Blue 
 Herons.
 Congratulation, Ken, and I hope someone re-finds the birds (it will restore 
 faith in your sanity).
 --Dave Nutter
 
 On Apr 03, 2013, at 12:21 AM, Kenneth V. Rosenberg k...@cornell.edu wrote:
 
 Hi,
 
 Here are a few more details on my hard-to-believe sighting of BOHEMIAN 
 WAXWINGS at Sapsucker Woods.
 
 I noticed a flock of birds dropping into a bare treetop outside my office 
 window — raising my binoculars I saw that they were waxwings and counted 16. 
 Although they were facing away against the gray sky, what was most 
 noticeable was the bold white linear patch on every birds' wing. This was 
 perplexing at first, as the overall coloration of the birds did not strike 
 me as odd, and they all appeared the same size (so had to be Cedars. 
 Right?). I struggled to make out color on the under tail coverts and finally 
 one bird turned and showed its dark red under tail. At this point I knew 
 they were BOHEMIANS (this all took just a few seconds), so my next instinct 
 was to get a photo, which would mean using my iPhone through the binoculars. 
 I reached down for the phone, began to set it up to take the pictures, but 
 when I glanced up the flock of birds was gone. I did not see whether they 
 flew away or dropped down, or what direction they might have gone. They 
 initial had come in from the south or southeast, from over the building or 
 from the parking lots.
 
 I hope they stick around and someone can relocate them Sapsucker Woods 
 tomorrow. I have not noticed ANY fruits around except for some withered 
 black privets, but in the spring I have seen waxwings feeding on flower buds 
 and petals.  It is also interesting that Bohemians, even during flight 
 years, tend to show up very late in the winter (March, April), even though 
 they really don'e penetrate much to the south of us in these winters.
 
 Good luck to all who search for these gorgeous birds!
 
 KEN
 
 Ken Rosenberg
 Conservation Science Program
 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
 Ithaca, NY 14850
 (wk) 607-254-2412
 (cell) 607-342-4594
 k...@cornell.edu
 
 
 From: Ken Rosenberg k...@cornell.edu
 Reply-To: Ken Rosenberg k...@cornell.edu
 Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2013 21:54:29 +
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS at Sapsucker Woods
 
 A flock of 16 — all BOHEMIANS — outside my office window 3 minutes ago. May 
 have dropped down into trees or shrubs near the beginning of the Wilson 
 Trail on north side of Cornell Lab building. I reached for my phone to try 
 to get at picture and they were gone.
 
 KEN
 
 Ken Rosenberg
 Conservation Science Program
 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
 Ithaca, NY 14850
 (wk) 607-254-2412
 (cell) 607-342-4594
 k...@cornell.edu
 
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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Black-billed cuckoo heard?

2013-03-28 Thread Chris Pelkie
That's a good reminder of those confusing rodent sounds.

I heard an excellent Eastern Phoebe a couple days ago, but immediately said to 
myself, whoa there big fella. A few seconds later the NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD went 
into a different imitation. Can't say I've heard NOMO do a Black-billed Cuckoo 
though.

ChrisP

On 20130328, at 11:09 , Linda Orkin wrote:

 I wrote to Marla off list to suggest a chipmunk, one of which was making its 
 clucking or chupping sound in my yard last week.  
 
 Linda
 
 On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM, Jody W Enck j...@cornell.edu wrote:
 Hi all,
 In terms of what species it could have been -- wild turkey comes to my mind.  
 They are making lots of vocalizations right now, including yelps and clucks 
 that could definitely sound cuckoo-esque in a wooded environment.  I have no 
 doubt there are other winter resident birds that might be making these 
 confusing sounds.  I hope you hear it again!
  
 Jody Enck
  
  
 From: Kevin James McGowan
 Sent: March 28, 2013 10:50 AM 
   To: Donna Lee Scott, Marla Coppolino, CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] Black-billed cuckoo heard?
  
 Black-billed Cuckoo spends the winter in South America (see the map at 
 http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black-billed_cuckoo/id), and those 
 long-distance migrants are amazingly strict in their migratory schedules, 
 usually not making it back to New York until May.
 
  
 I just tried making a few species maps in at http://ebird.org/ebird/map/, and 
 it would appear that there are no records for Black-billed Cuckoo in the 
 United States in March, ever.
 
  
 Best,
 
  
 Kevin
 
  
  
  
 From: bounce-77254620-3493...@list.cornell.edu 
 [mailto:bounce-77254620-3493...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Donna Scott
 Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:39 AM
 To: Marla Coppolino; CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Black-billed cuckoo heard?
 
  
 According to the Average Spring Arrival Dates for Cay. L. Basin 2000-2009, 
 that they gave us in the Spring ornithology course, Black Billed Cuckoos' 
 date of arrival should be more around May 9 !
 
  
 their data is from this list and in later years from eBird.
 
 Donna Scott
 
 - Original Message -
 
 From: Marla Coppolino
 
 To: Cayugabirds-L@cornell.edu
 
 Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 9:43 AM
 
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Black-billed cuckoo heard?
 
  
 I think I that I was hearing a black-billed cuckoo yesterday evening, in the 
 woods behind my property (Pleasant Valley Rd. in Groton).  Is that possible? 
 Would they be back in our area at this time?
 
  
 Marla
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 Don't ask what your bird club can do for you, ask what you can do for your  
 bird club!! ')_,/
 
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Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] A couple more goodies for me yesterday

2013-03-11 Thread Chris Pelkie
Such a busy birdy day, that after my noon time adventures previously reported, 
I went back out at 4pm (3pm bird time) to walk the dog and watch the skies some 
more. While we were out, a couple dozen TURKEY VULTURES came off their now 
familiar roost in the Asbury pines and started circling around. I swear they 
like to come check me out as much I do them: they fly really low over my yard 
and have gotten somewhat more accustomed to staying on trees ringing my yard if 
I don't make too much fuss playing with the dog. I probably should shower more 
often.

Anyway, I was factoring 'large group of big low swirling birds' out of my 
search image when suddenly one of them was not a TUVU: it was a GREAT BLUE 
HERON who had appeared from southward. The GBHE also circled 3 times around the 
yard/house, about 50' higher than the TUVUs giving great looks at this elegant 
flyer, then it glanced at the creek, but moved off northward (there are nicer 
ponds there). FOY for me for a yard GBHE and the longest one has ever spent 
overhead here; they are usually flying purposefully from one watering hole to 
another. Martha wondered if it was checking our weathervane which sports a 
copper GBHE as the ornament.

I stayed out a while longer and was finally rewarded with a vee of 40 SNOW 
GEESE (this time I counted), the only ones I saw all day. These were also the 
first visual I had on these guys as a yard bird, though I had counted them 
before listening to their barks during prior migrations at night.

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Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Mixed vee, etc.

2013-03-10 Thread Chris Pelkie
After the heads-up(s) from Dave Nicosia and others, I got out with binocs and 
scope to watch the big flights, from about 11am-1pm, from my Lansing backyard.
I counted all birds in a few Canada Goose vees so I could estimate the size of 
others, and figure I saw 2500+ birds in the couple of hours I watched. I did 
not see any Snow Geese.

But the most striking sight today was the mixed vee: I knew there was something 
weird, unbalanced, so got glasses on it. On one side, about 30 Canada Geese; on 
the other side, the first 10 birds were also CAGO, but then in perfect 
formation behind them, larger, all white birds showing translucent primaries 
and distinct black feet. Swans! I can't say for sure which, though I would 
guess Tundra. I'm sure the experts have seen this before, but this was 
definitely a first for me.

I had a couple prospective Rough-legged Hawks, based on dark underside, buteo 
wing shape, but they were doing at least 60mph northwards, so I had little time 
to examine them and wasn't absolutely sure the dark underside wasn't a trick of 
the light. Like the Geese, these hawks were flying so high today that my aging 
eyes had trouble seeing them without using the binocs.

Neighborhood Red-tailed Hawk and a couple Turkey Vultures circled through the 
scene as did a random selection of Ring-billed Gulls. I spotted one singleton 
'duck', longish neck, so maybe a Common Merganser, but that was too far away 
(it was flying SE unlike the migrant flocks). Also, a flock of 6 'ducks' too 
far away for any other ID. Fairly large flock of probable Red-winged Blackbirds 
passed through but only the one time.

No eagles, though I had hopes... Still need a Golden for the yard list.

First of year Red-breasted Nuthatch appeared first by its call, then later I 
spotted it. Singing Carolina Wren is setting up headquarters again in the 
woodpiles. American Crow, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, 
White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Juncos, House Sparrows, spatting Northern 
Cardinal males, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jays, a few chortles from Red-bellied 
Woodpecker. Heard a Northern Mockingbird trying out a few songs yesterday but 
didn't hear it today.

For the last two weeks, a Screechie has been singing the monotone trill in the 
pines on either side of our little patch just after dark, so we have hopes he 
or she will find a mate.

First 'yard' Wild Turkeys of the year waltzed part way up the street today til 
something startled the 6 hens and they thought better of holding a parade and 
ran back to the woods.

Some time after, a Red Fox ran through our yard to the same woods, but likely 
for much smaller game than a turkey. We've seen a pair of foxes together this 
year and lots of tracks in the snow of same, so hoping they will also breed 
again as they did last year.

ChrisP

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[cayugabirds-l] Shrike still at Cayuga Vista

2013-01-13 Thread Chris Pelkie
I went over to Cayuga Vista Dr a couple days ago and stalked the shrike. After 
about 20 min, a bird with buffy breast and grayish back popped into view and I 
got excited until I saw the remarkably straight bill and wimpy black mask. Then 
another showed up flashing white wing bars and I had to accept my first two 
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRDs of 2013. Sigh.

Waited for at least 30 more minutes and no shrike.

Today, I arrived around 11am and there was the NORTHERN SHRIKE big as life 
(actually big as a Life Bird which it was for me!), hooked bill and dark mask 
intact, sitting prominently on the high wire about halfway down the road 
between 34 and Woodsedge Dr (where Cayuga Vista turns 90deg.). It sat there 
long enough for me to park 100' short, grab the binocs and get a couple lousy 
photos. Then a couple of vehicles drove by and that made it fly to the tallest 
tree in the field right across from Hy-gear where it sat long enough for good 
scope view and a few photos (weak because it was now 100 yds from me). After a 
bit of preening, it flew down into the field and disappeared for 15 min. 
Eventually, I scanned back up to the Woodsedge corner and the shrike reappeared 
in the top of the scruffy apple tree there for a few more looks before 
disappearing down into the field again.

Thanks to all for the repeated sighting reports!

Also, the TURKEY VULTURE group has been roosting up near me, sometimes in the 
Asbury Cemetery pines and somewhat to the east, and at least one night in my 
and my neighbors trees. I counted 28 in the group twice, once while roosting 
and a couple days later in flight; I believe there are a few more than that 
because while I was counting the roosters, one flew to another pine and scared 
up yet another TUVU that had been hidden on the far side. Leucy (or is it 
Leuc?) was among the flying group but i couldn't tell if it was in the sleeping 
group with wings furled. In flight, they soar only 50' over my head while I 
stand in the backyard. I think they are really cool birds both sitting and 
flying so this is a great thrill.

ChrisP




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Re:[cayugabirds-l] delayed posts

2013-01-13 Thread Chris Pelkie
I discovered yesterday that probably due to the recent conversion by Cornell to 
a new Microsoft mail system that the listservs were hung.
I reported this to Chris T-H and he followed through and got it fixed.
Yes, several posts including mine on the shrike were made yesterday and only 
appeared today.

ChrisP


On Jan 13, 2013, at 12:53 , Joseph Brin wrote:

To clear matters up this sighting was on Saturday. This post was delayed for 
some reason.

Joe Brin




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[cayugabirds-l] Even more Turkey Vultures

2013-01-13 Thread Chris Pelkie
The vortex of TURKEY VULTUREs was centered again on the stand of pines just 
east of Asbury Cemetery. At around 330pm (Sun), I walked the dog and just stood 
below marveling at the grace of these birds. I figured the size of the group 
today was so much bigger that it was hopeless to count them, but after watching 
them whirl and swirl in large and small eddies, at one point the whole group 
seemed to take on a distinct direction. So using a convenient straight maple in 
front of me as a 'meter', I was able to tally them as they crossed this visual 
line. Before they started circling back and messing up my count, I had 52.

This was naked eye, so i came back out with binocs but try as I might, I could 
not make any of them into a Black Vulture.

ChrisP



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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Carcass identification-murder most foul

2013-01-03 Thread Chris Pelkie
I don't think murder has been proven yet. Maybe it was suffering and someone 
gave it the coop de gräce.

ChrisP

(OK, going to wash my hands now)


On Jan 3, 2013, at 13:35 , Caroline Manring wrote:

Has anyone made the revision of Murder most fowl yet? Sorry, sorry, I know.

--English prof who can't help herself
(Caroline)


On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM, Meena Haribal 
m...@cornell.edumailto:m...@cornell.edu wrote:
Dave,
I guess you have to prove that it was alive in 2013. So need to do accurate 
time of death on this bird even to count for the count week.

Meena

From: 
bounce-72555400-3493...@list.cornell.edumailto:bounce-72555400-3493...@list.cornell.edu
 
[mailto:bounce-72555400-3493...@list.cornell.edumailto:bounce-72555400-3493...@list.cornell.edu]
 On Behalf Of nutter.d...@me.commailto:nutter.d...@me.com
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2013 1:16 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Carcase identification-murder most foul

I meant 2013. Even typing I'm not used to the new year.

--Dave Nutter



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[cayugabirds-l] Corvids: The Birds Who Think Like Humans

2012-12-18 Thread Chris Pelkie
http://io9.com/5969515/corvids-the-birds-who-think-like-humans

Kevin is cited, as are others...


chris.pel...@cornell.edu

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[cayugabirds-l] Northern Bobwhite 30 W Meadow Dr Ithaca

2012-09-20 Thread Chris Pelkie
Just had a loudly calling NORTHERN BOBWHITE in my yard foraging on the lawn 
under the bird feeders. New yard bird! Woo-hoo!

I grabbed a couple calls from inside the house on my Sony recorder though 
contending with the dog going ballistic because it sounded like some guy 
whistling just outside the front door.

Not certain that was what I was hearing, I snuck out the back with binocs and 
spotted it before it scurried into the neighbor's woods. Not sure if I can get 
a pic or not.

ChrisP

30 W Meadow Dr Ithaca (off Triphammer Terrace, 4 mi N of SSW)
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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Sunday SSW Marsh wren, GCFly?

2012-09-18 Thread Chris Pelkie
We've had a 'resident' GCFL hanging around our woods/creek all summer. I heard 
and observed him calling as recently as Saturday morning. We're 4 mi north of 
SSW. I can imagine why eBird wanted a confirmation: I was quite surprised to 
have him still around even after the cold snap we had!


On 20120918, at 08:43 , Suan Yong wrote:

 Last Sunday's morning walk around SSW had a couple of interesting birds in 
 retrospect.
 
 First, from the Sherwood platform we heard a few repeated fweeps of a Great 
 Crested Flycatcher. eBird wanted a confirmation, which reminded me of the CBC 
 trip earlier this spring to Bear Swamp where we also heard repeated fweeps 
 and thought GCFly but the caller turned out to be a blue-headed vireo. 
 Sunday's fweeps came from the direction of the feeder blind where we'd 
 earlier seen a BHVireo high in a tree, so I wonder if that was the caller. 
 There were no preeting or other vireo phrases or anything else to reaffirm 
 one bird or the other.
 --
 


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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Flock Names

2012-06-04 Thread Chris Pelkie
I agree with the author (name not at hand) who is promoting Caucus of Crows. 
That seems to give them the best of it: a group united to promote an 
agreed-upon cause (one definition), plus it's a horrid pun, so gets extra 
points from me on that alone. (:-)

ChrisP


Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Audubon app $1

2012-04-26 Thread Chris Pelkie
One of my deal sites just alerted me that for a short (indeterminate) time, 
both the Apple iTunes Store and the Android (Amazon AppStore) have the Audubon 
Birds app for $1 instead of $20. I have not used it yet, but for $1 will get 
it. It claims to have an eBird tie-in. Maybe someone can elaborate on that.

ChrisP




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Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] A few firsts for me

2012-04-21 Thread Chris Pelkie
Yesterday afternoon, I added #100 species to my yard list: pair of WOOD DUCKs 
(M and F) puttering along on Gulf Creek behind our property. In 7 yrs of yard 
listing, never saw them before, though I've had Mallards and occasionally Great 
Blue Herons stop by in the creek.

Then before I finished celebrating, #101: BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER showed up! Even 
though I've never had one on the yard list before, I knew it before I got the 
binocs on it from the small size, flittiness, and long tail. We've had both 
Kinglets already this year, but BGGN was using more open branches than either 
of those species seemed to prefer. He sang a bit but my attempt to record it 
was blown away by a SONG SPARROW that kicked into high gear at the same time.

During the same period, I heard quite unexpectedly, then shortly after saw, 
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH when it landed on and foraged on a Shagbark Hickory not 
20' from me.

This morning, I figured I'd get any fallout from the south wind migrants 
hitting the cold front (it dropped 15deg since I walked the dog earlier this 
morning). And indeed, I finally got my HERMIT THRUSH first of year, in fact, a 
pair of them foraging near each other. At the same time I was watching them 
under some small pines, a flock of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERs appeared (we 
eventually resolved 10) and mixed in was a NASHVILLE WARBLER in full color 
hopping around on the ground with a couple strands of nest material (though I 
doubt he or she will actually nest here). That Nashville is #102 on the yard 
list! Big Day! I was caught between the birds and the house with no camera, but 
eventually sidled up a side trail, ran to the house to alert Martha, and to 
grab my camera, and eventually got pics of the YRWA and HETH but lost the NAWA. 
And while all these guys were hopping and flitting, 2 CAROLINA WRENs were 
foraging with them, and a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH flew over to examine the 
ruckus. Two YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERs were playing or contending for an old 
sumac pole that one of them has been making a hole in for the last couple of 
weeks, and EASTERN PHOEBE and AMERICAN ROBINs were there for the action as 
well. It's always fun to go from almost dead quiet (excepf for the variety of 
distant ear birds) to a crazy frenzy, then it all passes like a little storm of 
feathers.

But while standing still waiting for the HETH to reappear, I saw movement in 
the creek bed and shot a series of a RED FOX making its way up the creek (the 
Wood Ducks were not there today though a Mallard flew low over the creek while 
we were watching the YRWAs somewhat before the fox appeared). I don't think the 
fox ever saw me so I had pics of it approaching and going away (I was too far 
from the bank to get side shots without moving forward and alerting it). This 
was only the second time I've seen Red Fox on the property, though Martha saw 
this one a few days ago, and it's the first time I got pics of one.

ChrisP




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159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Re. George Rd....

2012-04-09 Thread Chris Pelkie
I wonder who owns the land and if the loss of its use by being covered by a 
beaver pond led to the removal?
Seems like if Dryden is making the tracks a walking trail, that pond would be a 
great feature along the trail.
So that makes me wonder if any Cayugabirders are Dryden residents and could 
attend a board meeting in favor of something like this idea...

ChrisP (Lansing resident, so not likely to carry much weight with Dryden)

On 20120409, at 11:58 , Marie P Read wrote:

 Yes, darn it! It would be a big loss. And doubly annoying because we included 
 it as a good birding spot in the new Basin Birding Guide.
 
 Marie
 
 Marie Read Wildlife Photography
 452 Ringwood Road
 Freeville NY  13068 USA
 
 Phone  607-539-6608
 e-mail   m...@cornell.edu
 
 http://www.marieread.com
 
 Now on FaceBook
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Read-Wildlife-Photography/104356136271727
 
 From: bounce-46510170-5851...@list.cornell.edu 
 [bounce-46510170-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Gary Kohlenberg 
 [jg...@cornell.edu]
 Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 11:31 AM
 To: Jay William McGowan
 Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Montezuma Sunday; George Rd. Vesper Sparrow
 
 My understanding on George Rd. pond is that the beaver dam that created it 
 was to be removed. The Dryden village is in the process of restoring the 
 railroad bed to a walking trail.
 If someone could verify this please do. I think we may have lost a terrific 
 birding spot.
 Gary
 
 
 
 
 On Apr 9, 2012, at 10:09 AM, Jay McGowan 
 jw...@cornell.edumailto:jw...@cornell.edu wrote:
 
 Hi all,
 Livia and I also found many of the birds reported by others along Cayuga Lake 
 and the Montezuma area. A few additional reports:
 A CASPIAN TERN flying north up the lake past Myers Point in the morning.
 A late NORTHERN SHRIKE perching in small tress on the north side of Carncross 
 Road; two CASPIAN TERNS flying along the channel at the end of Carncross Road.
 A MUTE SWAN with three TRUMPETER SWANS at the end of Morgan Road.
 The two WESTERN GREBES visible from Cayuga Lake State Park on the west side 
 of the lake just before dusk.
 
 This morning, George Road pond was still extremely dry, apparently drained. 
 I'm still unclear on the ownership of this area, but it is obviously a huge 
 loss to the area if this draining is permanent. A few GREEN-WINGED TEAL were 
 still using the small channel of water, and a single KILLDEER and a COYOTE 
 were walking around on the mudflats. Perhaps most notable was a singing 
 VESPER SPARROW uphill from the intersection of 38 and Hart Road.
 
 Good birding,
 -Jay
 
 --
 Jay McGowan
 Macaulay Library
 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
 jw...@cornell.edumailto:jw...@cornell.edu
 
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[cayugabirds-l] Wind Map

2012-03-29 Thread Chris Pelkie
http://hint.fm/wind/

New, nearly real time map of wind patterns over the USA mainland. Thought some 
would find it useful for predicting migration patterns/speeds.
Plus it's just plain cool.

ChrisP



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Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Adult Bald Eagle

2012-01-22 Thread Chris Pelkie
First Adult BALD EAGLE for my yard list and year list (have an immature from a 
couple summers back for the yard list so this is only the 2nd one I've ever 
seen from here). About 330pm, right after a stream of crows had flown over, I 
noticed a much bigger, flat profile bird coming from the same direction. 
Fortunately, had the binocs so got a great thrill to see the white head of the 
big Baldie coming right at me. It flew down Asbury Road direction probably 
about 300' high, took one more half turn, then headed off in the direction of 
the lake. I'm about 2.5 mi north of Pyramid Mall just off Triphammer Rd.

Shortly after, a couple TURKEY VULTUREs appeared (they are quite common here) 
which made a nice 'big bird soaring profile' contrast.

ChrisP



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[cayugabirds-l] TV with half-white wing reappears

2012-01-01 Thread Chris Pelkie
T-H's interesting TURKEY VULTURE with the half-white left wing appeared over 
our house today (West Meadow Dr, off Triphammer Terrace, so about 2.5 mi N of 
Pyramid Mall) as part of a kettle of about 14 birds. As usual in our area, they 
circle low and fast disappearing behind the trees behind our house, making it 
almost impossible to count.

I grabbed a series of the half-white winged individual and posted to Flickr. 
This is my first post there, so hope this link works for you. If not, let me 
know and I'll try to fix it. Also, if anyone wants larger (up to the Canon RAW 
21 Mpixel) images, let me know.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/73284351@N03/sets/72157628666045649/http://www.flickr.com/photos/73284351@N03/sets/72157628666045649/http://www.flickr.com/photos/73284351@N03/sets/72157628666045649/





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[cayugabirds-l] Decimal degrees

2011-12-18 Thread Chris Pelkie
I would STRONGLY advocate for decimal degrees. That does not mean degrees plus 
decimal minutes by the way.
I'm engaged in building a database for our worldwide deployments of acoustic 
listening devices and believe me, the 17 different ways people write down 
locations are a nightmare to encode logically as well as prone to all kinds of 
errors. Decimal Degrees is what Google Maps uses and what works best in a 
sortable list.
Decimal degrees also means no use (or misuse) of Northing-Easting style 
references such as 82°0'0W instead of -82.. Should there be spaces between 
each part? Are those straight foot and inch marks or curly typography quotes? 
Does the W come first or last? Ugh! In any given list, you'll find all 
permutations.
Besides, how many people know how to type the degree symbol? On a Mac, it's 
Shift-Option-asterisk, by the way. (:-)


Here is one of many online calculators to convert from DMS or DM.m:

http://www.satsig.net/degrees-minutes-seconds-calculator.htm

In my experience, most GPS devices can report out in more than one mode. Just 
explore the preferences or settings menu.

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Good warbler day at SSW

2011-09-08 Thread Chris Pelkie
With the heads-up from other reporters, I spent a bit of lunch time on the NW 
corner of Wilson Trail.
Without me moving, a mixed flock of warblers, probably 40-50 strong passed 
over...slowly! so I had lots of spinning around time, in some cases landing so 
close I had to drop the glasses to focus!
BLACK-AND-WHITE
BLACK-THROATED BLUE
BLACK-THROATED GREEN
AMERICAN REDSTART (only saw females)
CHESTNUT-SIDED (showing breeding plumage)
PINE
BLUE-WINGED
WILSON'S (male)
NASHVILLE
Heard a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT during this time but no visual (the other species 
were not singing, just forage-chirping if I can coin a term)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE
CEDAR WAXWING
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
RED-EYED VIREO
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE
NORTHERN CARDINAL
NORTHERN FLICKER
were also present at this time and place

Heard and/or saw
GREY CATBIRD
GREAT BLUE HERON
CANADA GOOSE
MALLARD
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
along the path

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] ??? Now:Olive-sided flycatcher in GBHer nest SSWt

2011-09-01 Thread Chris Pelkie
After Jay's first alert a week ago, I was successful in spotting the 
Olive-sided sallying off the tall dead snags most visible from end of Sherwood 
Platform (50' from platform slightly to the right of a line drawn down the 
length of the boardwalk leading to the platform). He was silent the whole time, 
ignored my half-assed attempts to whistle 'whip-three-beers', and spent quite a 
while just catching good things to eat. There was a small mob of Cedar Waxwings 
around though they tended to work the bugs at a lower level. There have been a 
couple Eastern Kingbirds back in that area for the last month or longer, and 
Eastern Wood-Pewees calling from the woods (where else) but not visible to me.

Of course the next day, with camera in hand, he was not evident, though I sort 
of convinced myself on the basis of GISS alone, that I saw him on the top of a 
snag all the way down at the other end of the south east end of the pond, 
barely visible in 10x glasses and I suspect not visible from the other 
boardwalk, so I didn't make the effort.

I'm hopeful he'll be evident again today, as I'm packing the optics! It would 
be great if he was working off the Heron Tree: much easier shot!

ChrisP


On Aug 31, 2011, at 7:44 PM, Lee Ann van Leer wrote:

 Sorry, Ok my hair trigger device also sent that out before I intended. I 
 hate to retract but I'm not positive about the olive-sided now. If only it 
 would do a quick three beers for me. ;-) so I'm not going to officially 
 count it. 
 
 I am positive of the bird in that tree still now though. The great blue 
 heron. Ha ha. Just a wee bit easier to identify. 
 
 I guess one isn't a good/honest bird watcher if they don't have to retract 
 something once in awhile. 
 
 Gotta go now to figure out which swallow this is I'm watching before phone 
 dies. 
 
 Sent from my iPhone
 
 On Aug 31, 2011, at 7:06 PM, Lee Ann van Leer l...@earthlink.net wrote:
 
 Sapsucker woods in larger great blue heron nest and vicinity although not 
 sure if it is coming back as the juvenile GB heron that roosts back in nest 
 tree every eve I've been here just came up right on schedule. 
 
 This is on snag on main Sapsucker Woods pond. 
 
 Sent from my iPhone
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Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] fruity sapsuckers

2011-06-30 Thread Chris Pelkie
I can share an observation on that. We've been watching a YB Sapsucker nest for 
the last month or so. At this point, the yammering from the still hidden chicks 
is quite loud, and the 2 parents have been coming in about every 30-60 sec with 
the next load.

A few days ago, when many other birds were hitting on our wild black cherries, 
I saw one YBSA parent (M) arrive at the nest with a quite large ripe cherry. 
Just before entering, and probably gagging one of the chicks, he thought better 
of that plan and flew to an adjacent tree landing on an inclined branch that 
also happened to have something of a split in the bark. He laid the full cherry 
into the split then took several whacks at it with his bill to pulp it. He 
carefully lifted the pit out, spat it over the side, then scooped up the pulp 
and flew back to the nest where by the sound, it was greedily consumed.


On Jun 30, 2011, at 10:01 AM, Nancy W Dickinson wrote:

 Of all the birds enjoying our fruit-laden cherry tree right now, the most 
 surprising is a pair of YB Sapsuckers.  I have seen them flying away with one 
 cherry held in the beak; how they actually eat it I'm not sure.  This morning 
 the female hopped around me, scolding while holding a fat ripe cherry in her 
 mouth.  Maybe she meant to feed it to some young?
 
 Nancy W. Dickinson
 Director's Administrative Assistant
 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
 Cornell University
 Ithaca, NY 14853
 (607) 254-4597
 
 
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159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Orchard Oriole M and F at 1230

2011-06-03 Thread Chris Pelkie
Thanks for the heads-up on the Orchard Oriole. He was still singing a lot from 
perches in a big circle around Kipps driveway, including landing in the tree 
right over my head for a couple phrases. I spotted a female at first, then 
realized it wasn't the singer, so there are at least 2 there as of 1230pm. 
Excellent looks and nice song!

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Black-billed Cuckoo

2011-05-25 Thread Chris Pelkie
Awakened about 5 am by the insistent rapid cu-cu' ing of first of year at my 
yard BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, four mi north of Sapsucker Woods.
Finally! Been wondering where the 'rain crows' were during all the rain.

Also a BLACKPOLL WARBLER is still hiding in the neighbor's tall pine tree where 
I can't spot it, but singing loud and often. I got some decent pics of the 
female on Saturday in my woods but haven't seen the male there (saw several at 
SSW last week).

Tried to track down what sounded like a begging nestling crow last evening, 
then heard the same moaning again this AM at 645. Not sure where it is but not 
easily accessible: appears to be across the creek and possibly Asbury Rd, maybe 
in the cemetery trees at Asbury/Triphammer intersection. It's almost male 
cat-like (not a Sapsucker: I have them and know their cat-like whine, and 
definitely not a Catbird: I have them too!). Coming consistently from the same 
place which appears to be at some height off the ground but in thick foliage I 
can't see through. What's odd is that I don't see the Crow family hanging 
around this year. Any other ideas of what would moan sort of like a cat (maybe 
the cat is stuck up a tree)?

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] A few first of years at Sapsucker Woods this AM for me

2011-05-04 Thread Chris Pelkie
45 min chilly walk this AM from 720-805 around N Wilson trail and a swing by 
Fuller Wetlands got me 3 real FOYs and a technical. I full-capitalized only 
these for you scanners.

Before I even opened the Lab door, I scanned the terrain, as many birds get 
close to the Lab and swinging the door open is a bad way to start.
Through the window I got my first of year EASTERN KINGBIRD as he flew to a low 
branch on the island. In the same binocular view was a Canada Goose and 
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Frankly, I think that is quite amusing, but what a place 
to bird!

Then, as I did move out onto the dock, observing one of the nesting Great Blue 
Herons sitting rather farther out on the snag tree than normal, a few Common 
Grackles and other small birds chased a Red-tailed Hawk from near the feeding 
station, and the hawk landed on the vertical of the snag. This caused the heron 
to fully extend its neck and hold that pose; it resembled a bittern and also 
brought to mind the scene Dave Nutter pointed out to our group on Sunday of a 
flying Great Blue Heron with neck fully extended; we jumped out and observed it 
and others flying nearby in a 'normal' posture with S-curved neck. So now I 
wonder what that pose means: aggression/dominance? fear? attention to danger? 
It's pretty distinctively different than the normal neck posture.

Moving up the trail, I had many of the common birds visible or singing* but 
suddenly saw fast-moving foraging small birds on the pond edge and focused on 
my first AMERICAN REDSTART male. My first thought was that the other small bird 
right behind would be a female Redstart, but when I got on it, found it was my 
first (technical) COMMON YELLOWTHROAT this year. Technical, because on Sunday 
at Braddock Bay we had a COYE in hand that had been mist-netted for banding, so 
this was my first one 'on the hoof'. Good looks, then at the end of the walk, 
probably the same bird reappeared at the pond edge close to the lab as I came 
in, and I had some more grand views of him 8' away (and no camera, drat it 
all!).

At the turning point of the trail, before the footbridge I got a new 
flycatcher. First impressions against the gray sky were Least, or Pewee, or 
Willow/Alder. Saw 2 wing bars, small size, 'pwit' calls, but couldn't get it to 
sit still for a head shot. But as I walked across the bridge, what was almost 
certainly the same bird came through at a lower level and preened for a bit, 
allowing me to see the eye ring and nail down my first of year LEAST FLYCATCHER.

* regular birds seen or heard this AM: Mallard, American Robin, Brown-headed 
Cowbird, American Goldfinch, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 
Common Grackle, American Crow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, 
Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, Red-winged Blackbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree 
Swallow, Wood Duck, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, possible Red-breasted 
Nuthatch (sounded rather like but couldn't spot it)
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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] TV watching

2011-04-26 Thread Chris Pelkie
Yesterday afternoon around 5, I was yard-birding, essentially trying to chase 
down the loudly calling PILEATED WOODPECKER, one of several that we have had 
resident for years. He was circling his territory, which is roughly our 2 acres 
plus woods beyond to the east and west. He did a great job of staying 200' 
ahead of me and out of sight. After the second circle, I said the heck with it, 
I'll sit here on my back patio and wait for him. Scanning the sky, thinking 'I 
wonder where the TURKEY VULTUREs are today' and on cue the first flew into 
sight low over the trees.

Short time later, the other 2 of that family group (I'm guessing because there 
are 3 together a lot) flew in and all circled. That led to the thought 'I 
wonder if the other 2 groups are still around' as we have counted as many as 10 
at a time together over our woods. On cue: within about 10 min, 10 TVs circling 
overhead.

Then, as happened a month or so back, all of a sudden I realized one of these 
birds circling was not like the others: it was a return of the OSPREY. While I 
was watching the Osprey, in the same binoc view, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was 
circling a few hundred feet higher! This was getting interesting. I switched 
view slightly to watch TVs and Osprey circling and registered what appeared to 
be a flock of small birds flying downward really fast as if they had flown 
through the group of vultures, but as I followed them down I realized that one 
of the vultures or maybe the Osprey had taken a gigantic dump from 500' and it 
was spreading out. So glad it was going to land on the neighbors house a few 
hundred feet to the north. Another reason to keep your mouth shut while birding.

Bringing attention back to near ground, I saw that 2 of the TVs had perched on 
the big basswood in our next door neighbors, a new roosting spot this year for 
them (they have used some very tall pines visible to the north for years). So 
for the next 10-15 min, I had a chance to study how TVs come to roost. It's 
pretty impressive. They circled lower and tighter in a leisurely manner. On the 
next to last pass, they swoop by the tree and ID the branch they will hit, the 
make a very tight turn to lose speed for final approach. As they come straight 
in on the glide path, they roll wings vertical (like an airplane lowering 
flaps) and flap 2-3 times. This brings them down from about 15 mph to about 2 
mph in the last 20', then they hit the branch (appropriately springy) and that 
kills the final speed to 0 (though sometimes shaking the nearby roosters). This 
works pretty well for getting out of the air, but it's not always the best 
choice for foot comfort, so they will them sometimes hop to another more comfy 
branch with just a few wing flaps.

This morning, to the sound of the recently arrived HOUSE WREN, I went out and 
the roost was all still in place. One bird had come to a closer bare tree and 
presented a great photo op except an AMERICAN CROW was hassling him. I ran for 
the camera but the bird had been chased off the perfect spot. But at the same 
time, the sun had broken over the horizon, and suddenly 5 of the 10 TVs flared 
out their wings to catch some rays and dry last night's rain. This presented a 
fantastic photo and I took a bunch (hope they come out OK).

Couldn't resist all the singing at the Lab this AM, and on a quick walk from 
730-800, got First of Year (for me) GREY CATBIRD foraging and meowing along the 
pond edge, FOY BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER singing cheerily and sitting high 
up in the sun (took some pics, hope they come out too!), and FOY YELLOW WARBLER 
by Fuller Wetlands.



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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Lunch walk: visual Northern Waterthrush

2011-04-25 Thread Chris Pelkie
Highlight (and last bird seen before coming back in from a quick lunch walk):

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (close long observation, 30' from gate to back door of 
Lab, foraging at pond edge)
yellowish-white breast, heavy streaking on breast and sides; distinct white 
eyebrow, characteristic slight but constant tail-bobbing, silent, foraging, 
10-20' from me and tolerant as I stood still or moved forward slowly; legs did 
not seem as long as the first one I saw some years ago which at the time I 
thought was a small mutant Robin with freakishly long legs!


YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERs (numerous, foraging and landing on sticks in back pond, 
landed on shrubs and sang at end of platform about 8' from me)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs
COMMON GRACKLE
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERs (2 fighting aerial grapple, others flying to perches 
along the path)
MALLARD pair
CANADA GOOSEs
PIED-BILLED GREBEs (2 on pond near each other)
COMMON MERGANSER M flyover
AMERICAN ROBINs
EUROPEAN STARLINGs
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWs (several over pond from platform)
TREE SWALLOWs (hunting with RWSW)
BELTED KINGFISHER F (landed quite close to me, so great observation, crest 
erected, rattling)
WHITE-THROATED SPARROWs (numerous)
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW (one foraging in ground weeds)
NORTHERN CARDINAL
GREAT BLUE HERON (on big snag)
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE
HOUSE FINCH
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
NORTHERN FLICKER
TUFTED TITMOUSE
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD
AMERICAN CROW

No Kinglets today at platform, many yesterday.
Another birder (coming from South Wilson) reported a single Hermit Thrush and 
Veery, Yellow Warbler and more Yellow-rumped but I didn't have time to take the 
'long' road back. In which case I would not have got the Waterthrush!

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Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Great Blue Herons at SSW (6 briefly)

2011-04-20 Thread Chris Pelkie
I took a quick walk this AM at 715 along north Wilson, listening to many 
Black-capped Chickadees, American Robins, White-throated Sparrows, Red-winged 
Blackbirds, Common Grackles, observing a Mallard on the trail (then in the 
water), Canada Geese, a pair of Common Mergansers, and one PIED-BILLED GREBE 
who arrived a few days ago.

I saw the head of one Great Blue Heron (GBHE) apparently incubating on the big 
snag, then spotted the mate fishing next to the berm. I stopped to watch as the 
fisher had caught a bright white fish, probably 5-6 in long, but oddly didn't 
turn it and gulp it, but dropped it back in the water. I thought maybe it was 
either not a fish or a bad-tasting one, but then the bird deliberately stuck 
its head into the water and 'fished' it out again (apparently the same one, and 
already dead). It did this a couple of times before finally consuming it.

Seemed like the show was over, so I moved on 100' but turned back just as i 
approached the rise and noticed a flight of 4 GBHEs arriving over the pond. 
That made the fisher fly up to the nest and the flock of 4 wheeled around and 3 
alit on various branches while the 4th continued to wheel (probably no room to 
land!). The nest bird rose up to help in the defense, so I had a nice view of 5 
big birds arrayed on the snag tree for about 20 secs before the interlopers got 
the hint and flew off together. Though after I walked to the platform and was 
returning I saw a third bird getting 'franked' at by what I assume was the nest 
male. So a busy heron day.

Also heard a NORTHERN FLICKER 'flicking' and Tufted Titmouse pealing.

Before I left home this morning (4 mi N of SSW), I also heard the 
characteristic knock then the cat-like whine of a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, 
though I saw one at home a couple days back for my first of year.

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Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Fwd: [cayugabirds-l] Fwd: Birds on Saturday?

2011-04-04 Thread Chris Pelkie
Spring Field Ornithology field trip most likely. I'm on Sun trips, and we 
stopped along Rt 13 to admire AMERICAN KESTRELs hovering effortlessly in one 
place over a mown field, while an EASTERN MEADOWLARK serenaded us from a wire 
over the same field. Lots of ducks/teals/ etc in the wet areas.

Begin forwarded message:

 From: Catherine Cooke ccooke...@gmail.com
 Date: April 4, 2011 1:06:23 PM EDT
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Fwd: Birds on Saturday?
 Reply-To: Catherine Cooke ccooke...@gmail.com
 
 I got this e-mail from a friend.  Perhaps someone on the list knows what was 
 going on. 
 
 Thanks!
 
 Cathy 
 
 -- Forwarded message --
 From: Rosanne Murphy re...@cornell.edu
 Date: Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM
 Subject: Birds on Saturday?
 To: Catherine Cooke ccooke...@gmail.com
 
 
 Hi Cathy,
 
  
 If you’re on the bird-sighting email list, can you find out what was going on 
 in Dryden on Saturday.
 
  
 My friend Cindy sent me this yesterday:
 
  
 “I took 38 to Dryden and just before the high school there were several cars 
 off the road and a bunch of people with spotting scopes looking out toward 
 route 13 where the field is mostly under water.  I have not idea what they 
 saw, but it drew a crowd.”
 
  
 So I figured that whatever people saw would have been posted on the bird 
 sighting email list. I’m not a member of that and thought you might be.
 
  
 I saw a Phoebe this morning trying to catch bugs in the heavy rain. It 
 probably had just arrived recently and must have been hungry.
 
  
 Thanks,
 
 Rosanne
 
  
 


__

Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] American Woodcock at SSW

2011-03-24 Thread Chris Pelkie
I should have posted earlier, but wanted to back up Matt's observation.

On Tue noon (before the snow), I walked north Wilson trail (the marshy loop at 
Sapsucker Woods) and frighted up an AMERICAN WOODCOCK who flew straight away 
from me (horizontal), wings 'whistling' and yellowish rump showing. It 
obviously had not flown far and in the direction down the trail I was headed. 
So I proceeded as cautiously as possible and started scanning the area I 
thought it had alighted on.

Well, rats, but when I was looking (panning) to a spot about 2' from the bird, 
it bolted again. So once again, I had a quick look at his butt and a listen to 
the whirr as it disappeared into the undergrowth.

I tried again at noon yesterday (Wed, during the snow), hoping it would be 
easier to spot but no luck. Got a RUSTY BLACKBIRD though! Most of the birds 
were hunkered down in trees during the sleety storm, and this guy was the only 
one in a group of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs and COMMON GRACKLES. I had to give up 
since the sleet was coating the binocs faster than I could wipe it off.

Also, for the record, the same Wed walk found:
DOWNY WOODPECKER
TUFTED TITMOUSE
AMERICAN ROBIN
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
NORTHERN CARDINAL
HOUSE FINCH
CANADA GOOSE
MALLARD
GREAT BLUE HERON
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE

Didn't find WHITE-THROATED SPARROW that day, but observed and heard them by the 
footbridge on Tue.

Mike Pitzrick found a great example on YouTube of a Woodcock foraging. I don't 
have the link but assume you can find it with Google. They do a funny little 
bouncy dance, which should be easy to spot if you are looking in the right 
direction. Add this to the interesting behavior of the courtship flight for 
this cool bird.

__

Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] GBH at SSW

2011-03-15 Thread Chris Pelkie
Mary at the front desk reported it first and several of us went out to welcome 
back the first GBH to the big snag on SSW pond this AM.
Maybe the same one Sara Jane reported flying over Honness Lane.

My FOY yard NOMO arrived also this AM in full song. He's been a regular for the 
last several years since the mixed evergreen hedge we planted 17 yrs ago have 
grown to 20' or so making a great habitat for NOMO and house finches, etc.

ChrisP
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Fwd: [cayugabirds-l] abbreviations

2011-03-15 Thread Chris Pelkie
Point taken. I'll be less lazy in future. Sorry for generating so  
much traffic!
I did reply off-list to Donna but didn't mean to confuse others, so  
thanks Asher for your reply to the list.

And great pic of the rough-legged hawk today, Jay!

Finally, (at least) 2 pair of Hooded Mergansers arrived at Sapsucker  
Woods Pond feeding area today. One of my favorite birds.

ChrisP

Begin forwarded message:

 From: Jay McGowan jw...@cornell.edu
 Date: March 15, 2011 5:30:35 PM EDT
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] abbreviations
 Reply-To: Jay William McGowan jw...@cornell.edu

 While very useful as shorthand for both bird banders and general  
 birders, we to avoid these abbreviations on the listserv, since not  
 everyone knows them and they can get confusing when people try to  
 use them without knowing the exceptions to the rules.

 Cheers.
 -Jay

 On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 5:24 PM, Donna Scott d...@cornell.edu wrote:
 At John VanNiels' suggestion, I Googled Alpha codes birds and got  
 the whole list of Bird Name Codes.
 Thanks all, for your help with this.

 Donna Scott
 - Original Message -
 From: nealda...@aol.com
 To: Donna Lee Scott ; Chris Pelkie ; CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4:55 PM
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] abbreviations

 umm - me too please!  what are those abbreviations?



 -Original Message-
 From: Donna Scott d...@cornell.edu
 To: Chris Pelkie chris.pel...@cornell.edu; CAYUGABIRDS-L  
 cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu
 Sent: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 7:55 am
 Subject: Re:[cayugabirds-l] abbreviations

 For the benefit of us non-texters and Trac Fone users, please  
 define FOY and NOMO.
 thanks!

 Donna S
 - Original Message -
 From: Chris Pelkie
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 10:54 AM
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] GBH at SSW

 Mary at the front desk reported it first and several of us went out  
 to welcome back the first GBH to the big snag on SSW pond this AM.
 Maybe the same one Sara Jane reported flying over Honness Lane.

 My FOY yard NOMO arrived also this AM in full song. He's been a  
 regular for the last several years since the mixed evergreen hedge  
 we planted 17 yrs ago have grown to 20' or so making a great  
 habitat for NOMO and house finches, etc.

 ChrisP
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 --




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[cayugabirds-l] New yard bird

2011-03-12 Thread Chris Pelkie
Went out with the dog and took the binocs looking for snow geese (didn't see 
them yet) or what else might be arriving.

Instead spotted several large lumps in the 70' basswood in the neighbors yard 
which at first I thought were the crows that roost there often (I shot photos 
of 17 at sunset a few days ago), but it turned out to be 4 immature TVs. Mom or 
Pop came soaring in a few minutes later and all took flight. I had counted 9 a 
few days ago as they briefly all flew in straight lines instead of swirling 
around and around as they usually do.

Anyway, while all that was going on, another raptor came soaring into the scene 
and I immediately ID'd my first yard Osprey. Whoo-hoo!
It soared around the house and grounds at about 300' in a big lazy 0 with nary 
a wing flap, giving me a great rotating view in the glasses, then flew off 
toward the lake (which is at least 1-2 mi as the osprey flies from my yard). So 
not sure what attracted him; maybe all the other big bird activity...

ChrisP








__

Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Bird nest decorations

2011-01-21 Thread Chris Pelkie
Thanks for the eye-opener this AM Joe and Diana! I thought you were announcing 
a flamingo sighting in the Basin with your post title! (8-)

OK, I'm awake now, so here's a contribution:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/bird-nest-messages/

is a quick overview of a recently published Science article on how black kites 
decorate nests with white plastic to show dominance.



__

Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Cooper's Hawk

2010-12-09 Thread Chris Pelkie
Yesterday about 7am, returning to the house with the dog, as I turned the 
corner to the open garage door, a Cooper's Hawk flew out, I think from a perch 
(that is, he wasn't just flying in and then back out). He/she landed on an 
ornamental tree right in front of the house briefly, turned and eyeballed me 
and doggie, then decided to beat feet as we were only 20' away.

Now, I'm an amateur and I know Sharpies are quite similar, but I reread all the 
ID notes on both and having ID'd a Cooper's in the back woods a couple years 
back by sight and his call, and another (or same) doing a surprise attack on a 
crow in the front yard, I'm leaning to Cooper over Sharpie. Looked rather 
large, distinct tail bands, curved tail profile though this was best seen in 
his low-level maneuvering from garage to tree then away, so maybe Sharpie tails 
are also curved in full flare?

I know why he was there: there's a gang of House Sparrows in residence in a 
still-green and very thick vine we have on the front of the garage who patrol 
the bird-feeder on the front porch. Also, there are a few MODOs eating the corn 
on the porch, so one or the other was to be breakfast.

What I can't figure out is what he could have found to perch on: the most 
likely spot near the door is the top of my tool cabinet, but it has a rather 
slick piece of MDF on it. Maybe the handle? Not sure, as he saw me first and 
flew out before I could see where he started from. The other interesting note 
is that the door had only been open for about 10 min since dog and me exited to 
begin the walk, so this was an opportunistic hawk!

_
Chris Pelkie - 607-254-1108 - chris.pel...@cornell.edu
Research Analyst - Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Eastern Screech-owl

2010-08-26 Thread Chris Pelkie
Dave Nutter's comment about the Eastern Screech-owl reminded me that I had made 
a futile attempt a couple weeks back to 'see' one in the woods behind my house. 
He (or she) was tootling, probably around 9pm, very close by in the trees. It 
was clear, so I hoped for a silhouette, but no such luck. The owl stopped 
tootling as soon as it detected me, so I never located it, but was pleased to 
think I had been at least within 30 or so feet of it for a change. Many times, 
they've either tootled or screeched in the middle of the night, either while I 
was out with the telescope or sleeping with the window open, and being a light 
sleeper, often awakened by them. I've recorded them several times, but never a 
glimpse or overflight.

But last night, I finally got my first visual! He started tootling while there 
was still about 10 min of light. I heard it through the open living room 
window, dashed for the binocs, and moved fast across the lawn, then went into 
'deer stalking' mode, 2 or 3 slow steps, pause, repeat til I was 20' into the 
woods, then started scanning the mid-upper story where the sound was. Again, he 
spotted and/or heard me and shut up, but I crept forward a few more feet, 
scanned again, and BINGO, got the puffy little guy sitting on a bare, rather 
steeply inclined branch about 25' up. As this tree was downslope, he was 
probably about 15' higher than me. He immediately turned sideways to me and 
horripilated which made him look the size of a small Great Horned. Much bigger 
than I had anticipated. He stayed silent, so I tried a warbling whistle. Bad 
idea: he took off like a SHOT. I mean shot from guns: didn't even see a 
wing-flap and he shot out of view. So don't whistle.

For the record, this sighting was 100' south of Asbury Road and about 200' east 
of Triphammer Rd (i.e., my back woods).

_
Chris Pelkie - 607-254-1108 - chris.pel...@cornell.edu
Research Analyst - Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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[cayugabirds-l] Herons at SSW

2010-04-30 Thread Chris Pelkie
On Wed at noon, I saw 5 GREAT BLUE HERONS, none of which I believe were of the 
nesting pair, as 3 In adult plumage were sitting peacefully on upper branches 
and 1 in juvenile (or missed molt) plumage was lower on same tree: this is 
another dead snag tree about 100' from the current nest tree, and yet another 
adult was on the berm below the tree. While it is difficult to see the 
incubating individual on the snag tree, we've seen it rise up, rearrange 
things, and disappear once sat down again, so I think she/he was probably on 
that nest. I think none of the new 5 were the current M since he actively 
defended the nest site earlier this Spring from some other 'intruders'; it 
seems unlikely he would be less defensive with eggs on the nest but I'm not a 
heron expert.

Thu morn, I saw one of the (new) adults present a nice big stick to another on 
that same (new) tree. They positioned it along the branch (precariously), 
mutually preened, then turned to face into the stiff wind we had then. I walked 
on, but on my return, saw 1 bird, and no stick. But at noon, I could see 2 
sticks hooked together on that branch.

Today 745am, I am stunned! There are probably 30 sticks interwoven. Both birds 
were actively working together to weave another in as I watched. One flew up 
with it, presented it, the other started pushing it into the mesh while the 
bringer held it, just like those handy little desk vises with the two 
adjustable alligator clips, was my (hobbyist-inspired) thought. BTW, this nest 
is easily visible for picture-taking from north Wilson trail.

Then I looked around and tallied simultaneously at least 5 herons on 5 
different trees on the pond. This counts the weaving pair on 1 tree, the 
incubator on the big snag, then 3 more visible sitting in other tall trees. All 
had adult plumage; I haven't seen the juvenile today.

So, if you want to see the birth of a rookery, come on up to Sapsucker Woods!


_
Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst   --  607-254-1108   -- chris.pel...@cornell.edu
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850






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[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker this AM

2010-04-19 Thread Chris Pelkie
I did a short walk from 730-8am on Wilson looping back toward Fuller.

 

10' from the gate, a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER M in full breeding colors and
singing heartily in a bush 8' away. Beautiful in the rising sun!

30' further down the trail, one of the MINKs ran by me along the edge of the
pond. So much smaller looking than back in early March when he was puffed up
against the cold!

At the point where one turns to go across the wooden bridge toward Fuller
trail, the BROWN THRASHER was singing away high in a tall tree at the end of
the pond. I managed not to startle him away today (there was an intervening
tree), and had a long good look at this handsome bird facing the sun about
80' away. Yellowish patch under throat, and less stripey breast and flanks
than Sibley shows. This guy was whiter on belly and flanks.

Numerous WHITE-THROATED SPARROWs calling from the woods, one seen. (I've
just read Mark's acct of the many sparrows he got, but which I missed by not
tuning into their songs. More to learn!)

PILEATED WOODPECKER banging on a tree and hollering, but didn't see it
today.

I distinctly heard several very nearby 'peents' from the marshy brush, but
couldn't spot the caller. Would a woodcock have come over to feed in this
area? Sure sounded like one.

Didn't see the GBHs on the nest, though one may be down in the bowl.

Pair of COMMON MERGANSERs on the berm sunning.

The normal complement of geese, mallards, robins, red-wings, chickadees,
downy, tree swallows, grackles.

 

Great way to start a Monday!


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[cayugabirds-l] Thrasher at CLO

2010-04-16 Thread Chris Pelkie
Came upon a BROWN THRASHER singing near the feeding station on the north
trail of the Sapsucker Woods pond this AM. He moved up from a mid-level
branch til he was in the topmost of the highest tree. I listened for a few
minutes, then really had to get to work. My first movement sent him flying
off.

 

ChrisP

 

 

(I hope this msg only arrives once: I've been having some email/list issues
in the last couple of days).


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] New Brown Creeper behavior information! (now crows...)

2010-04-12 Thread Chris Pelkie
I'm sure Kevin can render volumes more than I on corvids, but my  
observation of the last 3 weeks is of silent gliding crow(s) around my  
back acre of woods. This is likely members of our resident family who  
fledged at least one last summer in those woods.

I was struck by the fact that for the first time all winter, they had  
'shut up'! Figured out that this was the sentinel crow(s) for a nest  
and after a couple of days of watching, I finally caught them when  
they thought I was looking the other way. Typically, as I was moving  
around within 100' of the nest tree, the sentinel would sit quietly on  
an exposed position about 50' from the nest (I surmised) and eyeball  
me. This time, as I started to move away, he flew to the nest, and the  
sitting bird and he flew up and away (silently), but I was able to  
vector them back and spot the location up in the top of a white pine  
(about 35' high). Very tough to see without that vector, even now  
after acquiring the exact location! I suspected that the sentinel was  
quietly letting the sitter know either if was OK to leave, or, it was  
advisable to leave so no movement would be observable at the nest.

ChrisP


On Apr 12, 2010, at 4:41 PM, Meena Haribal wrote:

 For quite some time a local Am crow has been flying around without  
 flapping his wings and he has been keeping his wings in dihedral  
 angle. Sometimes that angle is acute almost like butterflies do. He  
 has also been harassing two local Red-tails while gliding or even  
 diving.

 He just now touched base, meaning he glided into Mundy area while  
 still holding his wings and red-tails are now out of sight.

 I have seen crows glide, but this guy seems like he has been  
 enjoying flying without flapping his wings as if he has learned a  
 new flying technique!

 I also saw an Osprey from my office sometime in the morning.

 Meena



 -Original Message-
 From: bounce-5570415-3493...@list.cornell.edu 
 [mailto:bounce-5570415-3493...@list.cornell.edu 
 ] On Behalf Of Kevin J. McGowan
 Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 4:22 PM
 To: Cayugabirds-L
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] New Brown Creeper behavior information!

 I'm kind of jazzed today because this morning I documented a bit of  
 Brown Creeper behavior that has never been published:

 When they scratch their head they reach their foot over the back of  
 their wing to do it!

 Ok, I know that this is not earth-shattering news.  But when I saw  
 it I realized that I had never seen it before, and the BNA accounts  
 states that it has never been published.

 So, the only reason this is interesting is that birds have two  
 different methods of scratching their head - 1) the direct method  
 where the foot goes straight to the itchy spot on the head, and 2)  
 the indirect method were the wing is slightly extended and the  
 foot passes over the back of it to reach the head.

 Two methods, but all the birds in one species do it the same way all  
 the time.  They don't switch back and forth.

 And until now, how Brown Creepers do it was unrecorded!

 I have a photo at 
 http://picasaweb.google.com/KevinJ.McGowan/BasinBirds2010#5459283115505453858 
 .

 It probably helps to understand the photo to know that the bird is  
 looking directly into the camera, the left wing is down, the body is  
 leaning slightly to the right, and the blurry thing above the tan  
 flank and rump is the moving foot.  You can see the black mark of  
 separated feathers on the bird's left cheek, where the itch was.

 Kevin

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 ARCHIVES:
 1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
 2) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html
 3) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds

 Please submit your observations to eBird:
 http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

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 Cayugabirds-L List Info:
 http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME
 http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES

 ARCHIVES:
 1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
 2) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html
 3) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds

 Please submit your observations to eBird:
 http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

 --



__

Chris Pelkie
Research Analyst
Bioacoustics Research Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850


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Cayugabirds-L List Info:
http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME
http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES

ARCHIVES:
1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html
3) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds

Please submit your observations to eBird:
http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

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