RE: [cayugabirds-l] Merlin reports

2021-03-26 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
From my yard, it’s been seeming that most of the Merlin activity has been 
concentrated around the row of White Pine trees behind the dumpsters of the two 
apartment buildings on Tareyton, in the area that there was a crow nest 2 years 
ago (I think 2 years ago…).  When I’ve been watching a calling Merlin in 
flight, it’s path seems to almost invariably lead to circling around or maybe 
diving into those pines.

Wesley




From: bounce-125495218-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
 On Behalf Of anneb.cl...@gmail.com
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2021 11:20 PM
To: Kenneth V. Rosenberg 
Cc: Karen ; CAYUGABIRDS-L 

Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Merlin reports

Interesting. They have more 2020 crow nests to rent in the Birchwood area than 
near that sycamore. But it will be interesting to see if one pair is searching 
the whole area. The nest used last year was either a recently depredated 
American crow nest or a takeover, the reason for the crow nest failure.
Anne
Sent from my iPhone


On Mar 25, 2021, at 6:41 PM, Kenneth V. Rosenberg 
mailto:k...@cornell.edu>> wrote:
 Hi John

At least one Merlin has returned to the Northeast Ithaca  neighborhood. I say 
“at least” one because there is a male perching regularly on the large sycamore 
at the north end of Muriel St. (and calling in that area) and one seen 
regularly (by Brad) flying around and calling on Birchwood Dr.  I live about 
halfway between these areas on Tareyton and also see/hear one regularly flying 
over— so we don’t know if this represents 1 or 2 birds.

Interestingly there was a pair of Merlins (one noticeably larger) perched and 
calling in the Muriel sycamore on a warm day in February— so they may have been 
winteri g locally.

KEN
Sent from my iPhone


On Mar 25, 2021, at 6:18 PM, Karen 
mailto:confergoldw...@aol.com>> wrote:

I love Merlins and Merlin reports and people who send in Merlin reports[Heart 
Eyes]. I check them all out. . Thanks to such reports, I have observed an 
increasing number of incubated nests in Tompkins County as follows: 2 (2014), 6 
(2015), 6 (2016), 5 (2017), 3 (2018), 6 (2019), 9 (2020).  These include pairs 
in Trumansburg, Lansing, Dryden, Freeville, Etna, and Ithaca (plus hints of a 
pair in Groton). Local observers provided guidance to almost all of these. I 
have written one paper on this, and am trying to write a more complete paper 
including habitat choice. Interestingly, all nests have been in urban/suburban 
areas. None in forests nor edge of forest nor edge of lake.

Merlins start egg-laying in early May. Observations in late March are helpful 
by providing a hint about where they may finally nest. For instance, the pair 
observed by so many at Myer's Pint never nested there. Weeks after being seen 
at Myer's Point, there was a pair about 800 m east closer to the Catholic 
church.

I would love to have individuals provide me with their observations at 
confergoldw...@aol.com

Thanks,

John
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RE:[cayugabirds-l] Dead birds under the thistle feeder

2021-02-22 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
If the dead birds were siskins, redpolls, or goldfinches, my first reaction is 
that the birds died from salmonellosis, and potentially you might have observed 
these birds sitting motionless and incredibly puffed up near the bird feeder at 
some point before you found the dead bird on the ground.

Salmonellosis outbreaks, which particularly hit siskins and redpolls, are an 
unfortunately predictable corollary of irruptions of these species.  Taking 
down your thistle feeder to disperse the birds might reduce further 
transmission, but it's hard to tell because the birds could just start 
congregating (maybe in larger numbers) at some other bird feeder in the area.

Wesley Hochachka




-Original Message-
From: bounce-125406737-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
 On Behalf Of Patrizia Sione
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2021 9:30 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L 
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Dead birds under the thistle feeder

Hello all,

In the course of the past 10 days, we have discovered a dead bird under a 
feeder in three separate occasions, the latest this morning.  No apparent 
injury.  The thistle is fresh (it goes pretty quickly) and we keep the feeders 
clean and sanitized. We called the Cornell hospital but they did not accept our 
request to have a necropsy conducted on the birds (we kept two of them in a 
sealed freezer bag  outside).  We have decals and nets outside our windows to 
prevent birds from hitting them.  

Any ideas about what could be causing this and how to prevent it from happening 
again?  It is the first time it has ever happened to us in the 10 years we’ve 
lived in our present location, and all this time we’ve fed birds.

Many thanks,
Patrizia Sione



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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Bobolinks

2020-06-29 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
I have a small amount of first-hand experience of searching for Bobolink nests 
during a study of the effects of habitat fragmentation on nesting success.  My 
impression is that Bobolink nests can be extremely difficult to find, and I 
would discourage attempts to find a Bobolink nest for the purpose of casual 
observation.  Adult Bobolinks have several behaviors that make nest finding 
difficult, including:

  *   Male activity is only loosely associated with nest locations.  A male can 
be activity singing in one area, actively foraging in another, and with their 
nest in yet another area entirely, within an overall area of several acres.
  *   Female Bobolinks can walk for tens of yards, both to and from their 
nests, making the location at which a female lands only a loose indicator of 
where her nest actually is.
  *   Localizing a nest is potentially best done by flushing a female from her 
nest (so that she has no time to walk away before taking flight).  Flushing 
birds of their nests is a standard methodology for grassland bird researchers, 
using a rope dragged through the grass between two people walking parallel 
lines.

In summary, just finding a Bobolink nest can take a substantial amount of time 
(hours), and cause major damage to habitat in the general vicinity of a nest 
(and potentially result in destruction of the nest).  Personally, I think that 
the potential costs to attempting to find a nest would on average outweigh any 
benefits.  Having written that, the nests of some individual birds are much 
easier to find than would be typical for a species, although I cannot think of 
any way to predict from birds’ behavior when a nest could be easily found 
(except maybe when the nestlings are so old and loud that they would be 
fledging imminently).

Wesley Hochachka




From: bounce-124741359-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
 On Behalf Of Susan Henne
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2020 5:05 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L 
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Bobolinks

For almost 10 days, there has been a male Bobolink in a meadow in front of my 
house.  I would assume there is a nest in the thick of the tall grass as his 
vocalizations usually get a busy response.  I have yet to see or ID a female or 
young.  The grass is tall and quite dense so maybe this will be the secret to 
their successful brood.  Has anyone had experience observing nestlings?  Can 
anyone suggest some good resources about their behavior?

Thanks
Sue Henne
Ellis Hollow

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] ebird reporting question re: motion activated photos

2020-05-12 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   As one of the people at the Lab of O who regularly works with data from 
eBird, I’ll give you my take on answering Deb’s question, from the perspective 
of someone who is interested in using the data from eBird for research, both 
for basic science, and applied conservation and management purposes.  However, 
much of what I’ll write also applies to birders wanting to know when and where 
they can find a species of interest to them.  For all of these purposes, it is 
important that we can learn both where a species of bird exists, as well as 
where a species does *not* exist.  In order to understand where a species does 
not exist, eBird uses two types of information.

   First, there is the answer to the question “is this a complete checklist of 
all bird species that you detected and identified?”  If the answer to this 
question is “no, this is not a complete list”, then we have no clue whether any 
particular species not on that checklist was actually present.  However, if the 
question is answered “yes, I am reporting all of the species that I saw and 
identified” then we at least know that the species in question was either: (1) 
really not present, or (2) present but undetected.

   The second type of information collected by eBird is needed in order to help 
distinguish between a species not being present, or that species just evading 
detection even though it was actually at the location.  This second type of 
information is what we generally refer to as “effort information”, things like: 
the length of time spent birding, the distance traveled while birding, the time 
of day, and the number of people in the group that was birding.  The longer 
someone spends looking for birds, the more likely it is that they’ll find and 
identify a species, when that species is actually present.  The more pairs of 
eyes and ears looking and listening for birds, the more likely that any bird 
will be found…at least up to a point: we’re found that as the size of birding 
groups gets too large, the likelihood of finding some species will decline.  
The time of day is important, because some bird species have times of day (or 
night) when they’re easily found, but other times at which it’s essentially 
impossible to detect a species, for example because the species becomes silent 
and inactive.

   Simplifying things (a lot), it’s possible to figure out where a species is 
not found, by giving more weight to checklists on which a species was very 
likely to have been reported, *if* the species had actually been present (i.e. 
checklists from observations collected with sufficient effort and at a time of 
day when a species would likely to have been detected if it was present).  
Also, it’s important to have information from a large number of checklists, 
such that you’re more confident that a species is absent if many observers 
haven’t reported a species.  It’s still impossible to be absolutely certain 
that a species is absent, especially for hard-to-see species like owls and 
rails, so in the end the best anyone can do is to conclude that it is highly 
likely that a species is not present.

   Some people might know that there are methods that have been created for 
analyzing “presence-only” data, but we’ve concluded that they should basically 
never be used with data from eBird.  We’ve experimented with dumbing down eBird 
data --- removing all of the effort information --- and trying out these 
presence-only analysis methods on the resultant data.  We’ve found that these 
presence-only methods do a worse job of describing where a species is and is 
not present.  Even the creator of the most widely used method for analyzing 
presence-only data has told us that it makes no sense to use his analysis 
methods with information from eBird.  These presence-only analysis methods are 
a sort of desperation option for use with information that comes from sources 
like museum specimens, for which there are just a bunch of presence 
“observations” sitting in boxes and drawers.

   So…what has this got to do with camera traps?  The problem is that there’s 
no good way to report effort (would you report just the minute in which a bird 
triggered the camera, the entire hour before the picture was taken, the 
half-hour afterward?).  The idea of a “complete” checklist is also stretched to 
the breaking point, because these cameras don’t identify birds by their 
vocalizations which is very different than many or most birders, so a camera 
trap may have close to zero chance to detecting most of the birds species in an 
area.  Also, is someone likely to report every species photographed, or just 
the species that they think are particularly interesting?
   Admittedly, it would be possible to cobble together some sort of effort 
information, but cameras are so different from human beings that any 
information from camera traps in eBird would just introduce noise into any sort 
of analysis or interpretation that is 

RE: [cayugabirds-l] Spotting scope question

2020-04-28 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
I doubt that there is any such thing as the “perfect” all-purpose spotting 
scope…regardless of price.  So I think that it’s important to decide how a 
scope will typically be used, and then buy a style of scope that maximizes 
utility for the most likely use cases, without eliminating the possibility of 
other likely use cases.  Jody, and Melissa and Wade described a couple of 
different use cases for which different styles of scopes would be preferred.

Oh, and there really is a difference between scopes whose optics include “ED” 
(or “high dispersion” or some other “special” glass), if a company makes models 
with and without any “special” glass.  Images are just crisper when 
special-glass elements are included.  I’ve seen this in side-by-side 
comparisons of scopes even from high-end companies like Swarovski.

I’ll second Jody’s suggestion that it’s important to budget for a good tripod 
and tripod head (with a decent quick-release system for removing the scope), in 
addition to the scope.  One thing to consider regarding the combination of 
scope + tripod is that (in my opinion) an extendable center column of a tripod 
a the devil’s own invention, because an extended center column is a lever arm 
that magnifies any vibration caused by wind, or touching the scope or tripod.  
It’s better to get a scope up to the desired height by only extending the 
tripod’s legs than to have to raise a center column in order for the scope to 
be raised to a suitable height for use.  That’s another reason why an 
angled-eyepiece scope can be better (assuming that angling would meet other 
requirements): the scope doesn’t have to be raised as high in order to look 
into the eyepiece.

Wesley


From: bounce-124587702-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
 On Behalf Of Gone
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 10:27 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L 
Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] Spotting scope question

My wife and I use straight 60x  80mm scopes, hers is a Vortex Optics Viper HD 
and mine is a  Clestron Ultima 80  with a BAADER PLANETARIUM  Hyperion zoom 
8-24 mark III eyepiece. I found my Celestron lacking after looking through my 
wifes Viper with the ED glass so I added the BADDER eyepiece to mine which made 
a world of difference putting my scope on par with hers. We found the angled 
scopes did not work for us because looking in a close tree the angle was good 
but the field of view was limited so our 10x42 and 12x42 binos worked just fine 
for that. Another reason for straight, for us, is that we scope more than 75% 
of the time with car window mounts and the angled scope will not work for that.
Melissa and Wade


From: 
bounce-124586701-26966...@list.cornell.edu
 [mailto:bounce-124586701-26966...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Peter Saracino
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2020 8:45 PM
To: Cayugabirds-L@cornell.edu
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Spotting scope question

Hi folks. I'm in the market for a relatively inexpensive (but halfway 
decent)spotting scope (straight barrel), and am wondering if anyone out there 
can recommend one.
Thank you.
Pete Sar
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[cayugabirds-l] Newcastle Disease in cormorants in the Great Lakes (and Cayuga Lake too?)

2018-08-25 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Regarding the young, strangely behaving Double-crested Cormorant that was at 
the doors of the Lab of Ornithology about a week ago, I stumbled on a news item 
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/cormorants-toronto-disease-1.4795873) 
that describes very similar behaviour of cormorants in Toronto that are dying 
of Newcastle Disease.  The disease is caused by a virus, and transmission is by 
direct contact or through virus particles in the environment.  Apparently 
there's little risk to humans (although mild disease can be caused).


   Does anyone know the fate of the Lab of O cormorant, and if dead whether 
there was a diagnosis of the cause of death?


Wesley




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RE: [cayugabirds-l] FOY?

2018-05-09 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hello Judith,

   Yes, there have been a number of people seeing Warbling Vireos in the last 
several days.  You can see a representative sample of this by looking at a map 
of the reports in eBird here: 
https://ebird.org/map/warvir?neg=true=false=false=Z=on=5=12=cur=2018=2018
 .  You will need to zoom into the Ithaca area on the map (which shows all 
Warbling Vireo reports for the month of May this year), to see the exact 
locations around Ithaca.  When the map starts to show points instead of colored 
squares, you can click on the point markers to see information on the dates and 
other species seen at that location.

Wesley



From: bounce-122556755-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-122556755-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of 
jasau...@earthlink.net
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 12:49 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] FOY?

Hi-

I was birding this morning on the Newman golf course side of the inlet and am 
pretty sure I saw a Warbling Vireo.  I got good looks at the bird and watched 
it as it sang.  It was very plain with very little if any yellow on its breast 
or sides.  I'm quite familiar with other vireos (especially the blue-headed and 
red-eyed).  Has anyone else seen a Warbling Vireo in the area?

Thanks.

Judy

 .
Judith A. Saul
Facilitation. Training. Mediation.
607-279-1406 (cell)
607-273-4086 (home)
jasau...@earthlink.net

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[cayugabirds-l] BOHEMIAN WAXWING in Sapsucker Woods this morning

2018-02-16 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   On my way in to work this morning, I encountered a Bohemian Waxwing with a 
small flock of Cedar Waxwings at the base of the boardwalk leading to the 
Sherwood Platform in Sapsucker Woods (for more information see this eBird 
checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S42834831).

Wesley





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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Super-black feathers in Birds of Paradise

2018-02-01 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
For anyone who is really curious the original article’s URL is here: 
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02088-w  It looks like it’s an 
open-access paper, so anyone should be able to view it at no cost.  There’s a 
photo of the gold-coated feather (that still looks black) at part of the 
paper’s materials.

Wesley



From: bounce-122250313-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-122250313-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Nari Mistry
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2018 11:03 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Super-black feathers in Birds of Paradise


Curious readers may be interested in this evolutionary feature in Birds of 
Paradise . I have extracted below some paragraphs from a report in PhysicsWorld 
(UK). I don't have the reference to the original papers.

Nari Mistry

= Extracted from PhysicsWorld (UK)=

Male birds of paradise have exceptionally black feathers and now researchers in 
the US have explained how the feathers manage to reflect tiny amounts of light. 
The team found that some feathers have complicated structures that create a 
scattering effect that results in almost zero reflectance of light under 
certain conditions – giving them a “super-black” appearance. The researchers 
think that this black plumage evolved to enhance the perceived brilliance of 
adjacent colour patches during courtship displays.

Birds of paradise are found in New Guinea and parts of eastern Australia. They 
are famous for the elaborate courting displays, plumage ornaments and dramatic 
colouration of the males. In many species, males have brightly coloured patches 
of feathers next to matte black plumage that appears much darker than the black 
colouration of other birds.  When researchers from Harvard University, the 
Smithsonian Institution, and Yale University shone light on museum specimens of 
five species of the bird of paradise they discovered that these black feathers 
have an extremely low directional reflectance – at normal incidence they only 
reflect back 0.05–0.31% of light. In contrast, black feathers from two other 
species of bird, used for comparison, had a directional reflectance of 
3.2–4.7%. . . . .

(Experiments). . . done by the team revealed that this is a result of the 
feathers' microscopic structure. A typical feather has a central shaft with 
rows of barbs branching off. Rows of smaller barbules then spread out from the 
barbs. In most feathers this structure is flat, with everything laying in the 
same horizontal plane. But the super-black feathers have barbules that are 
covered in microscale (tiny) spikes and they curve away (up) from the 
horizontal plane.  The researchers explain that these vertically-tilted barbule 
arrays create deep, curved cavities that cause multiple scattering of light, 
resulting in more structural absorption of light than normal black feathers. ". 
. . . These super-black feathers even retained their black appearance when 
coated with gold dust, whereas the normal black feathers appeared gold”.

The modified barbules are only present on the exposed overlapping tips of the 
feathers, while those towards the base of the feathers have a typical feather 
structure. Also, the black feathers from the back of one bird of paradise 
species, the superb bird-of-paradise, Lophorina superba, which are not used 
during display, had a typical barbule morphology and were more reflective than 
the super-black feathers. This supports the idea that the modified feathers 
have evolved for display purposes, the researchers say.
===
___
Nari B. Mistry,
Ithaca, NY
To see my paintings, visit
http://www.ArtbyNari.com
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] OT- Finger Lakes NF sensitive species help

2017-03-16 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi Geo,

   No, breeding-code information is a standard part of the most widely-used 
pre-packaged distribution of eBird data, the eBird Basic Dataset (EBD).  You 
can't call up this information on the eBird website, if I'm not mistaken, but 
then I wouldn't recommend using website output to do anything major in regard 
to research or management anyway.  Instead, the most appropriate thing to do 
would be to request access (always granted, for free) to the pre-bundled data 
in the EBD.  The EBD packages are rather large (i.e. you're not going to load 
it into Excel), but with some fairly basic large-data-management experience, 
one can pull out all of the breeding code information that's available without 
much effort.

Wesley



-Original Message-
From: bounce-121340368-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-121340368-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Geo Kloppel
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:24 PM
To: Kenneth V. Rosenberg
Cc: Joshua Snodgrass; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] OT- Finger Lakes NF sensitive species help

During the last NYS Breeding Bird Atlas period (2000-2005), field workers who 
submitted breeding records for Threatened species or species of Special Concern 
were subsequently asked to provide DEC with additional information (locations).

Is it true that eBird has not yet implemented data output for breeding records? 
If so, does this mean that a land management entity like DEC or the US Forest 
Service can't just consult eBird for Confirmed or Probable breeding locations 
of Threatened or Special Concern species that might be impacted by management, 
but instead has to make special requests? Do management planners routinely make 
such requests? 

I ask this because in my area (Danby/Newfield) I've seen several recent DEC 
actions that look like they could easily have been modified if location 
information had been available.

-Geo Kloppel

> On Mar 15, 2017, at 11:50 PM, Kenneth V. Rosenberg  wrote:
> 
> Josh,
> 
> Great job compiling conservation status information on these birds! 

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] birds and climate science

2017-03-13 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Pete,

   Would that be research done by locally-based researchers, or research based 
on data from this general area regardless of the physical location of the 
researcher(s)?

Wesley


From: bounce-121326792-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-121326792-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Peter
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 11:33 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] birds and climate science


Folksmight anyone know of any local ornithological research that 
informs climate science?

Thanks

Pete Saracino
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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Tundra swans flying over Caroline/Brooktondale

2016-12-10 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
There were three Tundra Swans just off Myer's Point this morning among a large 
group of Canada Geese, likely a family group (2 adult and one juvenile).


Wesley Hochachka



From: bounce-121073649-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Eva Smith 

Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2016 10:28
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Tundra swans flying over Caroline/Brooktondale

In yesterday's snowstorm I heard and then saw 18 Tundra Swans flying quite low, 
traveling northwest over Boiceville Rd in Brooktondale. It looked like they 
were seeking shelter in the storm and could possibly have ended up in southern 
Cayuga Lake.

Eva
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods, Sun 5/15

2016-05-15 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Adding to Mark’s observations, I’ll add a potential Willow Flycatcher or 
Eastern Wood-Pewee in the same general area as the Lincoln’s Sparrow.  I only 
saw the flycatcher for a handful of seconds in the shrubs along the edge of the 
pond, but in that time I failed to see a partial or complete white eye-ring (I 
looked specifically for this), and grey and not crisply-white wing bars (both 
of which I would expect on a Least Flycatcher).

Wesley Hochachka



From: bounce-120487691-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-120487691-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Chao
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2016 11:50 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods, Sun 5/15

I thought that the birding was just as good in the sheltered wooded areas of 
Sapsucker Woods on Sunday as it was under much more temperate conditions on 
Saturday.  Here are some highlights.

* LINCOLN’S SPARROW along the edge of the small pond by the maintenance 
building, East Trail

* Thirteen warbler species, including CANADA (1 silent M, Wilson Trail North), 
PALM, BLACK-THROATED BLUE (1 F, aforementioned pond edge along East Trail), 
BLACK-THROATED GREEN (1 F, Wilson/Severinghaus), MAGNOLIA (1 M and 1 F, Wilson 
North), CHESTNUT-SIDED (Wilson North), NORTHERN PARULA (2 singing, north end of 
Woodleton Boardwalk), and several YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS throughout

* Six male and four female WOOD DUCKS together on the main pond, plus two pairs 
in the woods, one on each side of the road

* Two Blue Jays giving quiet alarm calls and converging tentatively near an 
American Mink

* A singing Baltimore Oriole in female-like plumage.   The Birds of North 
America account says that second-year males in subadult plumage sing, and adult 
females sing too, but both only rarely.

And here in northeast Ithaca, my wife Miyoko “The Bluebird Whisperer” Chu saw 
an adult female EASTERN BLUEBIRD perched out in our yard this morning.  So 
Miyoko ran out and took a quick look inside this bird’s nest box.  There are 
five chalk-blue eggs in the nest!

Mark Chao






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[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods Black-throated Blue Warbler

2016-04-26 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
   The best bird from my morning commute through Sapsucker Woods was a nice 
male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER near the western edge of the big pond, to the 
southwest of the Sherwood Platform.  See this eBird checklist for more specific 
information:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29214929

There were also many YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERs and a YELLOW WARBLER flying about 
in the shrubs and cattails in the Fuller Wetland area.

Wesley Hochachka

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] eBird mobile app question

2015-11-04 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi,

   As best I know, there's a functioning alpha-test version of the Android 
eBird app that just appeared yesterday.  So a beta test version is probably a 
small number of weeks away, and a publically released version some larger 
number of weeks (very small number of months?) away.  Apologies for being 
vague, but while there are hoped-for target dates, it's almost certainly not a 
good idea for the development team to promise a release date if the goal is to 
produce an app that's actually functional.  The big delay has been in finding 
and hiring programmers with the needed skills.

Wesley



From: bounce-119857820-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-119857820-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Mona Bearor
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 11:25 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] eBird mobile app question

Does anyone happen to know when the eBird mobile app will be available for 
Android devices?  I was introduced to it on an iphone a few days ago and loved 
it, but have an LG phone.

Mona Bearor
South Glens Falls, NY


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RE: [cayugabirds-l] OOB: Black Stork nest-cam in Latvia

2015-07-05 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Thanks for posting the link to the Black Stork nest Dave!  Nest locations often 
seem to be closely guarded secrets in western Europe, and away from nests these 
birds don’t forage in areas where they can be watched easily.  As best I know, 
with the exception of migrating birds (southern tip of Spain, western Black Sea 
coast south through the eastern Mediterranean) and a couple of cliff nests in a 
national part in western Spain that I can think of, birders basically don’t 
have a lot of guaranteed opportunities to see Black Storks.  So that webcam is 
pretty special.

   In the background this (Latvian) afternoon I’ve picked out European Robin, 
Eurasian Wren, Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff briefly, and I think a Garden 
Warbler.

Wesley Hochachka


From: bounce-119427645-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-119427645-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Dave Nutter
Sent: Sunday, July 05, 2015 6:06 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] OOB: Black Stork nest-cam in Latvia

A few days ago my Stefhan Ohlström sent me this link to a site with several 
nest-cams in Latvia, which is east across the Baltic Sea from the southern part 
of his native Sweden.
https://www.eenet.ee/EENet/kaamerad
Some of the nests were already empty, which may also be why some cameras were 
not streaming, but the BLACK STORK nest is still active:
https://www.eenet.ee/EENet/melnais-starkis
This species was unfamiliar to me. I haven't traveled to its range. My books 
tell me it's more uncommon, shy, and solitary than the familiar rooftop-nesting 
White Stork of open farmland. The Black Stork frequents lakes, rivers and 
marshes surrounded by woods.

The broad platform nest is in a huge tree within forest. There are 2 nestlings, 
and they appear full-grown, so I don't know how much longer they'll remain in 
view.  Despite their new feathers they look scruffy to me. Their necks and 
backs are mottled with gray instead of pure black; their legs are gray and 
bills yellowish rather than both being bright red. Mostly they stand, quietly 
preening, or pacing slowly, sometimes poking at sticks of the nest, or backing 
slowly toward the edge to defecate. A couple times I have seen a single 
flap-hop. Stretches of those black wings are impressive, but otherwise it's a 
subdued scene. The background noise, in addition to wind, big feathers, and a 
fly or two, seems to include a pigeon, a wren, and some songbirds I don't 
recognize.

It's worth waiting for a parent to show up, which I've now seen three times. 
Even if you aren't watching, the sound will alert you. Suddenly the youngters 
crouch down on their long tibio-tarsi and begin bobbing their heads and 
calling. This can go on for several minutes while the parent stands on a nearby 
branch, which may or may not be in view, or may fly to a different branch and 
even seem to be uninterested. It can take awhile for the adult to actually come 
to the nest and feed them. I don't think the delay is from reluctance to face 
the huge and intimidating babies. They actually look obedient, 
well-disciplined, and patient, yet persistent, while they beg. Perhaps the 
adult needs a lot of stimulation. Maybe the internal rearranging of food and 
regurgitation-muscles takes awhile.

Finally, wings spread above its children, the parent steps onto the nest, 
extends its long neck forward and down between them, and opens its bill. The 
excited youngsters are squealing, flapping their wings, and poking and grabbing 
from either side when the parent coughs up food. The first time I saw this the 
meal was a few anonymous bits which were quickly gobbled up by both, then the 
parent departed.

The second feeding I saw, the begging seemed interminable, during which the sun 
rose through the leaves in the background. The meal was a single fish almost 
the size of the bird's neck. It came out suddenly. There was a very brief 
scuffle until one youngster got a better grip and turned aside. I feared the 
fish would be lost overboard, but the winner expertly swallowed it almost as 
rapidly as it had been ejected from the parent. The sibling got nothing! I was 
stunned. Then the parent bent over and produced a second, equally large fish! 
Fortunately the hungry kid won that round and scarfed it down. The parent flew 
off, leaving the youngsters to stand, rearrange their swollen necks, and 
clatter their bills.

As I was finishing writing, I was interrupted by a third feeding. This time the 
parent flew almost directly to the nest, rapidly produced several small items 
which were eaten before I could ID them, and left. Still, the begging sound as 
soon as the parent approached allowed me time to bring the view up. The 
contrast with the second feeding I saw makes me wonder if each parent hunts 
different prey.

Latvia is 7 hours ahead of us, so their sunrise is about 10pm for us, and the 
place is dark during our afternoon and evening.

--Dave Nutter
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Yellow-billed cuckoo SSW

2015-06-11 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi all,

   A (I’m assume the same) YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was singing this morning at 
about 7:30 AM to the west of the main pond at the Lab of O, somewhere to the 
west of the intersection of Wilson Trail North (just south of where the trail 
meets the side of the pond) and the West Trail (that heads to the Winston Court 
apartments).  The bird was loud enough to be heard from several hundred meters 
away, as I was walking to work through the woods.  The song was as linked from 
the Macaulay Library’s collection.

Wesley Hochachka




From: bounce-119369312-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-119369312-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Tom Schulenberg
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2015 9:42 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Yellow-billed cuckoo SSW



At noon, I heard a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO do 3 series of 6-8 single coo’s from 
the exclosure area just south of the covered shelter on Wilson.



  Twice this week I've heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Sapsucker Woods, on the 
west side of the road but south of the pond. I heard the same vocalization on 
both occasions, which is much like that of ML 190609

   http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/190609


tss



--
Thomas S. Schulenberg
Research Associate
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca  NY  14850
http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/home
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist

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[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods Louisiana Waterthrush this morning

2015-04-29 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   It's a bit strange, but not unprecedented: I heard a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH 
singing for about 5 minutes in a low area of vernal pools in Sapsucker Woods, 
on the east side of Sapsucker Woods Road.  While I first heard the bird from 
the Woodleton boardwalk, I tracked the sound to somewhere northwest of the 
Goldsworthy pinecone.  I never saw the bird, but the loud, clear song was 
consistently what I associate with Louisiana Waterthrushes: an initial two 
longer whistling notes that each dropped in pitch, followed by a jumble of 
shorter, rounded (i.e. not sharp, staccato) notes.
   If memory serves me correctly, the last time that there was a Louisiana 
Waterthrush in this general area, a few years ago, it remained for more than 
one day, singing frequently, before disappearing.

Wesley Hochachka


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[cayugabirds-l] likely Olive-sided Flycatcher north of Bluegrass Lane, on the edge of the natural area just s.w. of Equine Research Center

2014-08-11 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   I'm a bit slow in reporting this, because I saw the bird en route to Cornell 
campus from the Lab of O and only recently got back to my office and computer.  
The bird wasn't an in-your-face bird when I saw it, but I stopped at a location 
that I often do when biking to campus from the Lab of O, and noticed it while 
doing a 5-minute eBird count.  Anyway, I saw a bird that I can't argue myself 
out of IDing as an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER in the location mentioned in the 
subject line.  It's a wee bit earlier than expected (although Chris Wood had 
found one in a previous year on 12 August).  For details on the sighting, 
location, and rationale for my ID see the following eBird checklist: 
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19417882

Wesley


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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Mockingbirds on our house

2014-06-08 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi all,

   The idea of identifying winter ranges from songs that are mimicked is neat, 
and while it may not work for Northern Mockingbirds, it possibly could be used 
for other species.  I know of only a single person who ever tried doing this 
(there could easily be more…I don’t know the song literature at all), and he 
was trying to identify where the few Marsh Warblers that nest in England spend 
the winter in Africa.  As best I know, that part of the student’s research 
never came to fruition.
   As an aside, if you’ve got a few minutes, you can listen to Marsh Warbler 
recordings either at the Macaulay Library (a bird mimicking at least Great Tit, 
Barn Swallow, Skylark, House Sparrow, and Chiffchaff: 
http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/71611), or a marathon song session at 
xeno-canto: http://www.xeno-canto.org/135647 .  I find it interesting that 
these two mimics (mockingbirds and Marsh Warblers), although not at all closely 
related, some roughly the same sort of song quality: jarring, abrupt notes with 
very few whistles.

   Oh, and while mockingbirds can have repertoires of a couple hundred song 
types, these are not necessarily all mimicked songs of other species, but just 
recognizable and repeated phrases.  “Sampled” sounds from other species just 
happen to be part of the mix of phrases that the birds can use.

Wesley



From: bounce-116224129-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-116224129-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Mike Pitzrick
Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2014 9:40 AM
To: Richard Tkachuck
Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Mockingbirds on our house

Hi Richard,
The range map for Northern Mockingbird in Birds of North America indicates that 
they breed as far north as southern Ontario, and are permanent residents as far 
north as Watertown, NY.  Regarding migratory habits, BNA says it is
Not well understood. Reported to be partly migratory in northern portion of 
range, but at least some individuals remain in winter at northern limits of 
breeding range. Perceptions of status could be affected by reduced visibility 
of mockingbirds during winter.

About the number of songs types one bird can make,
The vocal repertoires of individual males have been estimated to be as low as 
45 and as high as 203 song types ... Song types appear to be added continuously 
to the vocal repertoire, suggesting that an individual bird may not have an 
upper limit to its repertoire.

The BNA account does not appear to address the issue of the fidelity of 
mimicry, so I will venture into the realm of my own impressions of how 
mockingbird mimicry can be distinguished from the songs of birds they imitate.  
I would welcome commentary from others who have similar or different 
impressions.

BNA mention that
Mockingbirds typically repeat one song type several times before switching to 
another. Songs are presented in “bouts,” with each bout consisting of 
repetitions of only one song type. Song types of short duration are repeated 
more often within a bout than are longer song types

This suggests one of the cues that might clue me into the fact that I'm hearing 
an imitation of a cardinal song rather than a real cardinal song.  The 
mockingbird is likely to make several identical repetitions of the same 
cardinal song in a pretty short time frame.

Beyond that, it appears to me that while many aspects of the cardinal song are 
faithfully reproduced to my ear, there are definitely alterations.  To me, a 
real cardinal song has more dynamic range, more change in pitch, more variety 
between repetitions of the same song, more variability in song length, etc.

To anthropomorphize, when I hear a real cardinal, I sometimes form a mental 
image of an opera singer.  I hear years of voice lessons.  Each note is milked 
for every possible ounce of melodrama and emotion.  I can almost see the 
exaggerated facial expressions.

The mockingbird reminds me more of an advanced beginner pianist.  The 
repertoire is getting to be quite large and increasing every week, but each of 
the pieces is of similar length because it gets boiled down to a single page in 
the piano lesson book.  The performance is lacking in dynamic range, change of 
tempo, and creativity.  Each repetition is rendered mechanically and 
identically.  My impression is that of a rote performance.
Does this ring true for other observers?
Richard, I'm guessing you would really enjoy reading The Singing Life of 
Birdshttp://www.amazon.com/The-Singing-Life-Birds-Listening/dp/0618840761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8qid=1402234001sr=8-1keywords=kroodsma
 by Donald Kroodsma.  The book discusses Northern Mockingbird among other 
species, comes with a CD, and is full of sonograms.

-Mike

On Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 8:25 AM, Richard Tkachuck 
rictkal...@gmail.commailto:rictkal...@gmail.com wrote:
A mockingbird has selected our house as a place to display his wide variety of 
sounds from early morning until the sun sets. This has raised some questions.
1, How large 

[cayugabirds-l] kittiwake at Myers Pt at 06:30 this morning

2014-05-18 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hello everyone,

   The kittiwake was loafing with other gulls at the tip of Myer's Pt this 
morning at about 6:30, although by 7 AM I'd list it after it and most of the 
gulls flew up when a group of Canada Geese took flight.  I was looking 
elsewhere at the time, so I didn't see where the kittiwake went.  At any rate, 
the bird is still in the area.

Wesley Hochachka




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[cayugabirds-l] likely Golden-winged/Brewster's Warbler on Hammond Hill this morning

2014-05-17 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   Apologies for my late posting, but I only now had a chance to scan through a 
large number of recordings of singing warblers, and concluded that there was 
either a Golden-winged or Brewster's Warbler on Hammond Hill this morning.  The 
bird was heard by me, Scott Haber, and Brad Walker on the trail labelled 
Yellow 6.  If you travel the trail across the road from the Hammond Hill Rd 
parking lot in the state forest, you will be on the Yellow 1 trail.  At a 
point just above the old blow-down area that has both Mourning and Canada 
Warblers (putting on good performances this morning!), the trail comes to a 
T-intersection, and if you turn left at the T (onto the Yellow 6 trail) and 
travel between 50 and 100m you will come to a more open area before the conifer 
forest, which looks like an old apple orchard that has been overgrown for many 
years.  We heard, but were not able to see, a bird that was singing 
persistently for at least 10 minutes, giving a 2-note song that sounds like an 
abridged version of one of the typical Golden-winged Warbler songs: a longer 
buzz, followed by multiple shorter notes at a slightly lower pitch for the 
typical song.  The bird in question consistently sang only the first long buzz 
note and then a single shorter note.  I found a couple of examples on 
xeno-canto that display this variant:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/103587
http://www.xeno-canto.org/49544

However, after listening to every Golden-winged Warbler recording on 
xeno-canto, I think that anything that a pure Golden-winged Warbler can sing 
can also be sung by a Brewster's Warbler (there were a few recordings of 
Brewster's Warbler hybrids listed with the Golden-winged Warblers.  So, I think 
that there's at least 50% of a Golden-winged Warbler (possibly less if you go 
by mitochondrial DNA) up on Hammond Hill.  If anyone is in the area, it might 
be useful to have a look and listen in the general area that I described.

Wesley Hochachka






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RE:[cayugabirds-l] likely Golden-winged/Brewster's Warbler on Hammond Hill this morning (more correct directions)

2014-05-17 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi again everyone,


I just realized that my description of the warbler's location was not quite 
correct. When I wrote about turning left at the T-intersection this was 
correct. However, by turning left you would remain on the trail Yellow 1. It 
is only if you incorrectly turned right that you would be on trail Yellow 6. 
At least the notes that I scribbled for myself this morning knew what was 
happening, even if my brain didn't...


Wesley





From: bounce-115597985-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
bounce-115597985-3494...@list.cornell.edu on behalf of Wesley M. Hochachka 
w...@cornell.edu
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 20:52
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] likely Golden-winged/Brewster's Warbler on Hammond 
Hill this morning

Hi everyone,

   Apologies for my late posting, but I only now had a chance to scan through a 
large number of recordings of singing warblers, and concluded that there was 
either a Golden-winged or Brewster's Warbler on Hammond Hill this morning.  The 
bird was heard by me, Scott Haber, and Brad Walker on the trail labelled 
Yellow 6.  If you travel the trail across the road from the Hammond Hill Rd 
parking lot in the state forest, you will be on the Yellow 1 trail.  At a 
point just above the old blow-down area that has both Mourning and Canada 
Warblers (putting on good performances this morning!), the trail comes to a 
T-intersection, and if you turn left at the T (onto the Yellow 6 trail) and 
travel between 50 and 100m you will come to a more open area before the conifer 
forest, which looks like an old apple orchard that has been overgrown for many 
years.  We heard, but were not able to see, a bird that was singing 
persistently for at least 10 minutes, giving a 2-note song that sounds like an 
abridged version of one of the typical Golden-winged Warbler songs: a longer 
buzz, followed by multiple shorter notes at a slightly lower pitch for the 
typical song.  The bird in question consistently sang only the first long buzz 
note and then a single shorter note.  I found a couple of examples on 
xeno-canto that display this variant:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/103587
http://www.xeno-canto.org/49544

However, after listening to every Golden-winged Warbler recording on 
xeno-canto, I think that anything that a pure Golden-winged Warbler can sing 
can also be sung by a Brewster's Warbler (there were a few recordings of 
Brewster's Warbler hybrids listed with the Golden-winged Warblers.  So, I think 
that there's at least 50% of a Golden-winged Warbler (possibly less if you go 
by mitochondrial DNA) up on Hammond Hill.  If anyone is in the area, it might 
be useful to have a look and listen in the general area that I described.

Wesley Hochachka





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[cayugabirds-l] PALM WARBLER, Sapsucker Woods, Owen's platform boardwalk

2014-04-14 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   I had a rather surprising first-parulid-of-year-in-Sapsucker Woods just now: 
a PALM WARBLER.  I saw the bird in the clump of alder shrubs/trees through 
which the boardwalk cuts, leading to the platform over the water to the south 
of Kip's Barn (the big white barn north of the Lab of O building).  I only 
briefly saw the bird, seconds after my attention was drawn to a warbler chip 
note.  The bird flew up at about eye level and while I only had maybe 2 seconds 
of clear view (half of that wasted while my brain processed the fact that I was 
not looking at a Yellow-rumped Warbler), I'm reasonably confident that it was a 
brown-form Palm Warbler.  I think that I heard the bird chipping nearby 
subsequently just to the west of the boardwalk, so it might linger in this 
general area for a while.

Wesley Hochachka

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Great Blue Herons

2014-03-23 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi all,

   I don't think that it was just local Great Blue Herons that were moving 
around the Basin yesterday.  In addition to seeing one heron hanging around 
Myers point on Saturday morning, for the second week in a row, I also saw three 
high-flying herons together heading northeast over the Farmers' Market area 
yesterday morning that looked like they had no intention of stopping off in the 
area.  These three birds were making very impressive time, taking advantage of 
yesterday's strong, favourable tailwinds.

Wesley Hochachka



-Original Message-
From: bounce-113532972-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-113532972-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of W. Larry Hymes
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2014 10:14 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Great Blue Herons

While traversing Upper Buttermilk Park (muddy, icy), I was surprised to find 2 
GREAT BLUE HERON flying about the Lake Treman area together.  
There is some open water there, and 11 Canada Geese were also present.  
I assume the two birds were a pair that was checking out this area as a 
possible nest site.

Larry

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W. Larry Hymes
120 Vine Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
(H) 607-277-0759, w...@cornell.edu



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[cayugabirds-l] very likely an Olive-sided Flycatcher, Podell Boardwalk, Sapsucker Woods

2013-08-22 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   On my way into the Lab of O this morning, I came in via the Podell Boardwalk 
(the boardwalk that is along the trial system if you exit the Lab's public 
entrance and head straight south parallel to Sapsucker Woods Rd.  One of the 
birds that I saw was what I'm almost essentially sure (aside from not having a 
good size reference for comparison) was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER.  The bird 
was actively sallying out and flycatching, always from the tops of dead trees 
away from the main forest edge and never in the canopy.  My attention was first 
drawn to what I thought was a mid-sized woodpecker perched on a treetop, but 
once had time to look and then see it through 10X binoculars, it's clearly a 
Contopus flycatcher: no eye-ring, a vest of darker feathers on either side of 
its breast with a lighter-coloured line extending vertically through the middle 
of its breast.  In about 5 minutes of watching the bird, I saw no traces of 
wingbars (although the angle wasn't great).  The undertail coverts seemed to be 
a mottled grey, and the bird's throat was either clear white or perhaps had 
faint streaks of grey against a dominant white background.  The bill was 
noticeably broad and heavy (relative, say, to an Eastern Pheobe) and either 
entirely dark or at times I thought with a warmer very base of the lower 
mandible (viewing distance was too far for me to feel certain of this, though). 
 The bird's tail also appeared to be proportional short for its body relative 
to the flycatchers that I typically see in Sapsucker Woods.  Leg colour, as 
best I could tell, was black.  The lining of the bird's mouth was a bright 
yellowy-orange, for what it's worth.  Oh, and the bird was entirely silent, and 
didn't have any behavioural ticks (i.e. no tail flicking or suchlike).
   Why I think that the bird is an Olive-sided Flycatcher (which shouldn't 
really be here now) and an Eastern Wood-Pewee are the following things:

-  Size: the bird looks too large to be a wood-pewee, although there 
were never other birds around that would allow me to do a size comparison.  
However, within 2 minutes I saw together an Eastern Phoebe and Great Crested 
Flycatcher that I judged to be about the same distance as the Cantopus.  My 
impression was that the Cantopus that I'd just seen fell somewhere in size 
between phoebe and Great Crested Flycatcher.

-  Breast: the bird's breast has a very clear demarcation between the 
white vertical stripe up the middle and the darker vest on the sides.

-  Throat: basically white in this bird and not the more off-white/grey 
that I typically associate with Eastern Wood-Pewee

-  Wing-bars (or lack thereof): I can usually see faint wingbars on 
wood-pewees, but not on this bird (although viewing angle was far from idea, 
being almost directly overhead most of the time)
So, in sum, mostly I'm basing my ID on the distinct breast markings and throat 
that I was able to see clearly for long periods of time.  The other traits 
suggesting Olive-sided Flycatcher, size and lack of wing bars, are things that 
I think I could see, but which I am not entirely comfortable as saying that 
there present.  Hopefully someone else can wander out and find the bird.

Wesley Hochachka





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[cayugabirds-l] late report of late Lapland Longspurs

2013-05-10 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hello everyone,

   I have to apologize for the very late nature of this posting, but on 
Wednesday late afternoon, while touring a couple guests from the British Trust 
for Ornithology around, we encountered a flock that I estimated to be at least 
100 LAPLAND LONGSPURs at Carncross Road near the bridge to Howland Island.  
There have been a few eBird reports from last weekend, but of much smaller 
groups.  The birds were in the corn stubble field to the south of the road, 
well away from the road (100 - 150m).  Part of the reason that I did not post 
this earlier was that I thought I was delusional in my ID for the flock of 
birds that I only saw distantly and briefly through binoculars as they flew, 
and only yesterday evening I found out that others had also seen the 
species...much later than would be expected.
   Anyway, if anyone is up in that area, don't be surprised if you see the 
longspurs still around.  Wet areas in the stubble also held various other 
birds, including LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, LESSER YELLOWLEGs, 
GREATER YELLOWLEGs, and a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER.

Wesley


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[cayugabirds-l] anyone still interested in Bohemian Waxwings? (90 in Sapsucker Woods this morning)

2013-04-08 Thread Wesley M. Hochachka
Hi all,

   I've been away for the last while, and so I'm not sure if people have had 
their fill chasing BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, but at about 8 AM this morning I saw a 
flock of 90 perched in the trees a bit to the west of the white barn (Kip's 
Barn) in Sapsucker Woods.  As far as I could tell with my binoculars, there was 
not a single Cedar Waxwing with the group.  The last that I saw, the birds were 
flying down into some shrubs along or near the power line cut.  They were 
easily audible from the north part of the Wilson Trail: I was hearing them well 
before I came to a location where I could see them.

   These birds were something of a curse-breaker for me: the first Bohemian 
Waxwings that I've seen in New York (after having seen them in a surprising 
number of other places over the time that I've lived in Ithaca, including in 
two other countries in the last 3 weeks).

Wesley Hochachka

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[cayugabirds-l] Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sapsucker Woods n. side of main pond 9:45 PM

2013-02-11 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   After the seminar at the Lab of Ornithology tonight (Monday) I was walking 
home through Sapsucker Woods when I heard the moderately high-pitched, repeated 
tooting whistle of a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL (or alternatively someone doing a 
good imitation of a Saw-whet...in which case please correct me on-list, but I 
was not aware of any other person in the area).  The calling lasted for about 
20 seconds before the bird went silent again.  I didn't try to see the bird or 
call it in (no flashlight, and I didn't want to go crashing around disturbing 
it and everything else in the area).
  I think that the location of the calling was on the north side of the main 
pond in Sapsucker Woods, somewhere between the feeders along the pond and the 
the small bridge over the creek that flows out of the pond.

   I haven't heard a Saw-whet (or any other owl for that matter) after dark in 
Sapsucker Woods so far this winter in spite of walking through the woods a 
number of evenings this year, so it was a nice first for me this calendar year.

Wesley Hochachka



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RE: [cayugabirds-l] sick Redpoll

2013-01-18 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Donna,

   My guess is that the bird has salmonellosis.  Unfortunately, I think that 
every year that there is a major redpoll irruption, some birds start dying of 
salmonellosis: we see redpolls that are listless, sitting for long periods of 
time motionless and with their feathers puffed up enormously...and then they 
die and drop to the ground.  To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing that 
can be done about an individual sick redpoll in that case.  However, I also 
think that this means that you should start thinking about preventative 
measures like:

-  If you handle a sick redpoll, wash your hands very thoroughly (same 
advice as for the flu) afterwards.

-  If you have a pet that could eat dead or dying birds, do what you 
can to minimize the potential for pet and bird coming into contact for your 
pet's sake.

-  You also have to decide on the extent to which you want to try to 
minimize spread of the pathogen, like moving feeders to a different location 
away from contaminated ground, adding new feeders or spacing existing feeders 
further apart to lower the rates of contact between birds, or as an extreme 
case taking your feeders down for a while to disperse the birds that are now 
visiting.
Regarding this last item, I'm not suggesting that the redpoll contracted the 
disease at your feeders: redpolls are gregarious, and so they are a species 
that makes it easy for pathogens to spread.  Also, as I wrote, redpoll 
irruptions and salmonella outbreaks seem to go hand in hand, so while disease 
and death are unfortunate, your finding a sick bird is unfortunately not 
unexpected.

Wesley Hochachka



From: bounce-72596748-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-72596748-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Donna Scott
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:32 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] sick Redpoll

For several days, I have seen a Redpoll that seems lethargic and with its 
feathers all puffed out.
It eats a lot, but seems not to have the energy to fly around or up off the 
ground very much.

This morning, to rescue it from possible capture by my bird-seed-eating dog, 
who was out with me while I was filling feeders, I caught the bird in my hand 
and took it up to the deck that is one story off the ground and set it down in 
a safe place.
It flew away from where I put it and since I have company, I was not able to 
keep track of it after that.
Its butt feathers are a yellow color, so it has some bird diarrhea perhaps.

Any advice?

Donna L. Scott
535 Lansing Station Road
Lansing, NY 14882
d...@cornell.edumailto:d...@cornell.edu
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Fw: Birdhouse Roof Tile

2013-01-11 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hmm...the wording isn't terribly clear, but it sounds like the idea is that the 
nest itself is below the tile and not entirely within the box: the box would 
just provide the entrance.  I'm guessing this based on the article says that 
Birds often create nesting areas within the roofs of houses, and later that 
an archetypal house to be attached on top of it with a basket below.  I've 
seen the insides of a few Belgian and German roofs (I'm assuming that Dutch 
roofs would be similar) from below the outer tiles, and as long as there's an 
attic area at the top, then the tiles can just be sitting on wooden slats that 
are running horizontally across the roof with downward hooks on the books of 
the tiles hooking over the slats so that the tiles do not slide down and fall 
off.  There doesn't have to be any continuous solid base on which the tiles are 
resting.  Anyway, that's what I think is happening with this design, and so I'm 
guessing that the bird house could be cleaned from underneath, because the 
bottom is not the base of the tile, but extends downwards into the attic.

Wesley Hochachka


From: bounce-72575939-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-72575939-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Donna Scott
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2013 12:32 PM
To: Lisa Welch; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Fw: Birdhouse Roof Tile

This clever looking birdhouse appears to be glued to the roof tile and made of 
clay, itself.
So, how does one clean it out periodically?
Donna Scott
- Original Message -
From: Lisa Welchmailto:welch_m_l...@yahoo.com
To: cayugabird...@list.cornell.edumailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2013 6:20 PM
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Fw: Birdhouse Roof Tile


- Forwarded Message -
From: Erik Bootsma 
erikboot...@bootsma-design.commailto:erikboot...@bootsma-design.com
To: trada...@listserv.miami.edumailto:trada...@listserv.miami.edu
Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2013 2:17 PM
Subject: Birdhouse Roof Tile

A roof tile/birdhouse.  Pretty cool idea.  I wonder if they can do a bat house 
too?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/designboom/birdhouse-rooftile-klaas-kuiken_b_2402279.html

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] 100+ Redpolls-for a minute

2013-01-09 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   Having watched a few winter irruptives over the last couple weeks, both 
redpolls and Bohemian Waxwings, while in Alberta I've been forming my own 
opinions about what these birds are doing.  It's not just redpolls that are 
behaving as Laura described but I was watching a flock of a couple thousand 
Bohemian Waxwings doing the same sort of thing: descending on a feeding site 
for 10 or 15 minutes and then taking off for no apparent reason only to 
reappear at the same location several hours later or the next day.  It wouldn't 
surprise me if this sort of behaviour isn't typical of species that both feed 
in flocks and feed on concentrated food sources like feeders, berry trees 
(waxwings) or cones of various sorts (redpolls and siskins on alder and birch). 
 I'm not even sure that it's possible to say that redpolls are more mobile than 
chickadees.  When Dave Bonter had colour-banded chickadees at various feeders 
around Ithaca a few years ago, I was watching my flock of colour-banded 
birds, and while my feeder seemed to be almost continuously used by a small 
group of chickadees, individually-recognizable chickadees stayed in my yard for 
very short periods of time...there was just a constant rotation of birds 
through my yard.

   I'm not sure this behaviour is really skittish in the sense of the birds 
being nervous about predators.  I'd actually expect the opposite: something 
that's called a selfish herd effect, where the larger the group, the less 
likely that you'll be depredated because by chance alone you're far less likely 
to be killed by the small number of predators in the area if you're in a group 
of 100 than if you're in a group of 2, for example.

   My own speculation is that this behaviour is some sort of built-in 
psychological twitch in bird species that flock in winter but also typically 
feed on food supplies that they can deplete, potentially very quickly, over the 
course of a few days.  These birds need to keep searching for new food supplies 
over the course of a winter, and I am guessing that their constant movement 
from one feeding site to the next is part of a general strategy of exploring 
and finding new food supplies before their current food supplies are exhausted. 
 In other words, I'm not sure that these birds are psychologically hard-wired 
to know how to deal with an essentially unlimited food source like a bird 
feeder.  I'm also guessing that this sort of behaviour at a local level, of 
always shifting from one food source to another, is also manifested at the 
broader scales that Chris mentioned, with redpolls shifting around not just 
within a local area but from one local area to another over the course of a 
winter.  I think this also happens with Bohemian Waxwings.  In the town where I 
grew up, these birds would arrive en mass at a different date than in a nearby 
city, swarm around town in huge numbers for a few weeks and seemingly clean out 
the available berries, before largely disappearing mid-way through the winter.  
These sorts of broader-scale movements happened every winter.

   Anyway, that's the extent of my idle speculation.  My bet would be on a 
finite and depletable winter food supply being behind site-level twitchiness of 
redpolls and other flocking winter invasive bird species.

Wesley Hochachka



-Original Message-
From: bounce-72567911-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-72567911-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Christopher Wood
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:17 AM
To: geoklop...@gmail.com
Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] 100+ Redpolls-for a minute

I also think that many of these redpolls are still actively moving.
These birds may have come in, fed briefly and then taken off for some place a 
hundred miles away. While we often think of migration being in May and 
September, there probably isn't a single month of the year where at least some 
individuals of a few species are moving. I've certainly noticed actively 
migrating redpolls in the last week or so.
I've seen flocks of redpolls still moving south along the North Shore of Lake 
Superior in February, while other species were moving north.

Chris Wood

eBird  Neotropical Birds Project Leader Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, 
New York http://ebird.org http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu


On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Geo Kloppel geoklop...@gmail.com wrote:
 Hi Laura,

 When gathered in large flocks they actually strike me as being _more_ 
 skittish; perhaps it's a compounding effect. Makes sense in a way. 
 There may be no predator around at the moment,  but they know that by 
 concentrating at a rich food source in a landscape of scarcity they 
 create a magnet for any predators in the area.

 -Geo

 On Jan 9, 2013, at 9:14 AM, Laura Stenzler l...@cornell.edu wrote:

 Hi,
 This morning there was a flock of at least 100 Redpolls in the trees 
 near our feeders. A few were at the feeders, but after sticking around 
 for a 

[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods Nelson's Sparrow

2012-09-30 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
   There must be a lot of NELSON'S SPARROWs around, because this morning I has 
one pop up in the wetland to the north of the Lab of Ornithology this morning.  
It's a new Sapsucker Woods bird for me and in eBird.  I saw the bird for about 
30 seconds while I was standing on the short boardwalk leading to the Owen's 
Platform, feeding on a cattail in the narrow water-filled area to the east of 
the walk.  The bird subsequently dropped down and a bit north toward the thick 
alders that cross the boardwalk.  When in view, I had nice looks at the bird 
(streaked upper breast and flanks with a warm base colour, a smaller sparrow 
more comparable in size to a chickadee than Swamp Sparrow as judged by the 
Nelson's Sparrow displacing a Black-capped Chickadee from a cattail, warm tan 
in the lighter shades on the sides of its head with a narrow grey mid-crown 
stripe).

   Apologies for not posting earlier, as I have just gotten to a place where I 
could both enter my list on eBird and post this e-mail message.

Wesley Hochachka


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[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods (big) baby Barred Owl (e. side of Sapsucker Woods)

2012-07-08 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
With the regular Barred Owl these last few months just on the west side of 
Sapsucker Woods Rd, I had expected that a nest and nestlings might be in the 
area.  So I was a bit surprised this morning to find at least one and maybe two 
juvenile BARRED OWLs in the forest just northeast of the east-most pond (along 
the East Trail, near the shelter) in Sapsucker Woods.  I discovered the birds, 
because of a persistent, upward-climbing shrill call (it reminded me remotely 
of sharing qualities with some Wood Duck vocalizations), which I believe was a 
juvenile bird begging for food.  I only saw one juvenile well, but at least two 
birds were actively moving around in the canopy; I'm not sure whether the 
second was an adult or another juvenile.  The juvenile bird that I saw appeared 
to be essentially fully grown, although with hints of nestling plumage visible, 
and very active and agile.  So, wherever the nest was, it appears that the 
family has moved to the eastern side of Sapsucker Woods.

Wesley Hochachka


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[cayugabirds-l] how many Dickcissels are at Seneca Meadows?

2012-07-05 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hello everyone,

   I spent some quality time with the DICKISSELs at Seneca Meadows yesterday, 
mostly watching the nest-building pair near the large oak tree, and only 
occasionally hearing the second male that Jay McGowan wrote about yesterday.  I 
finally saw a second male to the southwest of the large oak tree, and had some 
distant looks through my spotting scope.  Both of the males that I had seen had 
full black “V” on its chest, just like the male that I believe most people have 
been regularly seeing.  It only occurred to me late last night that Lee Ann’s 
post from Sunday (below) described a male with only a small black patch on its 
throat and not a full “V”.  The location of Lee Ann’s second singer also is 
rather different than where I saw the second male that I located, I think being 
further east by well over 100m.  Does this suggest that there might be at least 
3 male Dickcissels at Seneca Meadows?

Wesley Hochachka



From: bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Lee Ann van Leer
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2012 4:05 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Dickcissels still visible @ Seneca meadows



GPS PIN
Dicks 1876–1976 Black Brook 
Rdhttp://maps.google.com/maps?f=qq=42.936303,-76.819774%20%28Dicks%201876%E2%80%931976%20Black%20Brook%20Rd%29

Between 2-3pm we heard them singing along Oak Pass trail between the Main Loop 
and the large oak tree.

One sang for a long time on and off but we could not get a visual on it there.

We backtracked and took right on Main loop towards two other large trees. Half 
way between the intersection of Main LoopOak Pass and the 2 trees we heard two 
DICKCISSELS  and finally got a visual of one singing on top of a light colored 
post with orange vertical stripes on post.

Bird had yellow breast, only a little black patch on lower throat (not full V)
Gray on tail  uppertail coverts, rufous patches on wings.

Very good looks with scope. Photos to follow later.

GPS PIN is where we saw it. Oak Tree would be better spot to hear it.

-Lee Ann w/ Kevin McGowan

[cid:image001.png@01CD5A91.1CDB3C20]


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RE:[cayugabirds-l] how many Dickcissels are at Seneca Meadows? (seems like only 3)

2012-07-05 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
That photo from last Sunday looks like it’s of a bird with the same amount of 
black on its front as the two males that I saw yesterday.  Oh well, so much for 
hopeful speculation about a third male in different plumage…

   Oh, and I should add that the thought of additional Dickcissels hiding 
elsewhere on the Seneca Meadows preserve prompted me to walk the entire south 
side of the Main Loop trail (everything south from the Oak Pass Trail).  I saw 
lots of TREE SWALLOWs.  I also convinced myself that there no other Dickcissels 
elsewhere than around the large oak tree, given how easy it was to locate the 
known birds.  I did a series of eBird point counts around the preserve to 
document that impression for posterity.

Wesley Hochachka



From: Kevin J. McGowan
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2012 9:45 AM
To: Wesley M Hochachka; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: RE: how many Dickcissels are at Seneca Meadows?

I have a poor photo of our only Dickcissel sighting from Sunday at 
https://picasaweb.google.com/KevinJ.McGowan/Summer2012Birds#5760644233315645458.
  Perhaps I was expecting more black, but this seemed like a small amount to 
me.  It never did face us straight on to see if it was a V or just a spot.  
But, it’s quite a lot in comparison to the young male Dickcissel that was 
singing at the Game Farm in June 2004 (see 
https://plus.google.com/photos/37855303614931880/albums/5571771921924874977/5571792105586132594).

Kevin


From: 
bounce-62321469-3493...@list.cornell.edumailto:bounce-62321469-3493...@list.cornell.edu
 
[mailto:bounce-62321469-3493...@list.cornell.edu]mailto:[mailto:bounce-62321469-3493...@list.cornell.edu]
 On Behalf Of Wesley M Hochachka
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2012 9:33 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] how many Dickcissels are at Seneca Meadows?

Hello everyone,

   I spent some quality time with the DICKISSELs at Seneca Meadows yesterday, 
mostly watching the nest-building pair near the large oak tree, and only 
occasionally hearing the second male that Jay McGowan wrote about yesterday.  I 
finally saw a second male to the southwest of the large oak tree, and had some 
distant looks through my spotting scope.  Both of the males that I had seen had 
full black “V” on its chest, just like the male that I believe most people have 
been regularly seeing.  It only occurred to me late last night that Lee Ann’s 
post from Sunday (below) described a male with only a small black patch on its 
throat and not a full “V”.  The location of Lee Ann’s second singer also is 
rather different than where I saw the second male that I located, I think being 
further east by well over 100m.  Does this suggest that there might be at least 
3 male Dickcissels at Seneca Meadows?

Wesley Hochachka



From: 
bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edumailto:bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edu
 
[mailto:bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edu]mailto:[mailto:bounce-62176967-3494...@list.cornell.edu]
 On Behalf Of Lee Ann van Leer
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2012 4:05 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Dickcissels still visible @ Seneca meadows


GPS PIN
Dicks 1876–1976 Black Brook 
Rdhttp://maps.google.com/maps?f=qq=42.936303,-76.819774%20%28Dicks%201876%E2%80%931976%20Black%20Brook%20Rd%29

Between 2-3pm we heard them singing along Oak Pass trail between the Main Loop 
and the large oak tree.

One sang for a long time on and off but we could not get a visual on it there.

We backtracked and took right on Main loop towards two other large trees. Half 
way between the intersection of Main LoopOak Pass and the 2 trees we heard two 
DICKCISSELS  and finally got a visual of one singing on top of a light colored 
post with orange vertical stripes on post.

Bird had yellow breast, only a little black patch on lower throat (not full V)
Gray on tail  uppertail coverts, rufous patches on wings.

Very good looks with scope. Photos to follow later.

GPS PIN is where we saw it. Oak Tree would be better spot to hear it.

-Lee Ann w/ Kevin McGowan

[cid:image001.png@01CD5A9A.27BE78B0]


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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods, Sun 5/20

2012-05-20 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   Somehow Mark and I didn't run into each other in Sapsucker Woods today, so 
maybe we were visiting different areas?  Anyway, I did find a few different 
migrants than Mark, with both BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Podell boardwalk) and 
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Woodleton boardwalk) singing, but definitely not 
continuously.  I also heard a MAGNOLIA WARBLER in the neighbourhood to the west 
of Sapsucker Woods.
   More striking to me than the absence of migrants, was changes in 
predilection to vocalize by some of the breeders in Sapsucker Woods.  EASTERN 
WOOD-PEWEE and VEERY are finally making themselves known throughout the areas 
that I would expect to hear them, whereas WOOD THRUSH have curtailed their 
singing, and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH and BROWN CREEPER are more vocal than I've 
heard in the last 2 weeks or more.

Wesley Hochachka


From: bounce-58971037-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-58971037-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Chao
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 8:32 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods, Sun 5/20

Evidence of migrant songbirds was extremely low in Sapsucker Woods on Sunday 
morning.  I found only one bird that's not a likely breeding species - a male 
CANADA WARBLER along the road, offering some fine viewing north of the gates 
and across from the orange hydrant.  A few years ago, a Canada Warbler stayed 
in this very location for a few weeks into at least early June, but today's 
bird seemed much more intent on foraging than defending a territory with song.

Mark Chao

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[cayugabirds-l] migrant Red-breasted Nuthatches?

2012-05-03 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   I know that everyone's exuberantly welcoming the return of all of the spring 
migrant species this week, but has anyone else noticed Red-breasted Nuthatches 
in places where they normally are not?  I'm asking because I did a long walk 
through Sapsucker Woods this morning on my way to work, and I heard 
Red-breasted Nuthatches at 3 different locations where I have been regularly 
making counts for the last 9 months and where I have either never or only once 
before heard or seen this species.  This makes me wonder if we haven't had a 
minor influx of R.B. Nuthatches flying in with all of the other species...

Wesley Hochachka

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FW: [cayugabirds-l] OT: Guide to Birding in the Cayuga Lake Basin article

2012-04-11 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hello,

   The only relevant research paper that I can think of using bird club-related 
data is this one:

 Butler, C. J. 2003. The disproportionate effect of global warming on the 
arrival dates of short-distance migratory birds in North America. Ibis 
145:484–495.

that made use of the weekly readings of the lists to look at long-term changes 
in arrival dates of migrants in spring into Ithaca (a second data set of a 
similar type was also used in the paper from MA, if I remember).  While the 
paper doesn't talk about changes in abundance, the climate-related link is via 
changes in timing of migration.

Wesley




Wesley Hochachka
Assistant Director, Bird Population Studies Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
ph. (607) 254-2484


From: bounce-47216061-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[bounce-47216061-3494...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Linda Orkin 
[wingmagi...@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:37
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L; cny-naturalhist...@darkstar.cortland.edu; NYSBIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] OT: Guide to Birding in the Cayuga Lake Basin article

For those who may be interested, Sue Heavenrich has written an article about 
this Guide and it appears in this week's Tompkins County Weekly.  A good 
overview of the book. Here is a link to the pdf page.

http://www.tompkinshosting.com/tompkinsweekly/TompkinsWeekly120409.pdf

Also, she had emailed me with the following request which I forward in the 
event that someone may wish to help her with this. I am reluctant to just give 
out names of people to her without some expression of interest beforehand. If 
anyone does want to take this on, please email me and I will put you in touch 
with her.


Now I have another question for you - or maybe I already asked it  we didn't 
have time to explore:
Does anyone in the club have bird count numbers or data that might show 
whether/how bird populations have changed over past 35 years? Am working on 
something re: climate change  bird range expansion or northward expansion
~Sue

Thanks in advance if  you can help out.

LInda Orkin
Ithaca, NY
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Question on the Western Grebe ID

2012-02-05 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi all,

   I have been fortunate enough to have some experience comparing Western and 
Clark's Grebes side by side, both in the breeding season and winter.  Relevant 
to this thread, my experience is that:

-  At a distance or first glance the most obvious difference between 
the species is that Clark's Grebes appear not just subtly lighter in shade 
along their sides, but are blatantly lighter to the extent that even a quick 
scan of a mixed-species group can pick out pick out Clark's Grebes typically as 
being essentially white in appearance along their flanks.

-  To me the second most obvious feature distinguishing the two species 
is bill colour.  Again, my impression is that the distinction between the 
species is not subtle as long as one is not colour blind.  Specifically, I 
found that Clark's Grebes have a clearly warm (reddish-orange) colour cast, 
whereas Western Grebes' bills have a cool green colour cast.  So, to my eye, 
the difference in bill colour is greater than is illustrated for example in the 
Sibley guide, and in direct comparisons between the species I have found that 
this difference pops out quickly in reasonable lighting conditions.

-  For wintering grebes, my impression is that the amount of white on 
the side of the face is a far less clear differentiator of the two species than 
the above two characteristics.  In side-by-side comparisons of the two species, 
I could see consistent differences.  However, in order to find a pair of nearby 
birds to compare, I would have used flank shade and bill colour to pick out the 
pair, and then spend time looking carefully at the faces.
All in all, I think that Dave's nice photos show all of the characteristics of 
a Western Grebe, without any clear suggestions of Clark's.  All of the above 
just echoes what Chris wrote in his eBird checklist, to which Anne Marie 
pointed people.  I figured that it would be useful to chime in as to which of 
the characteristics Chris mentioned are the ones that a lesser mortal would 
most immediately notice as differentiating the two species in winter.

Wesley Hochachka



From: bounce-39533270-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-39533270-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Kevin J. McGowan
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:49 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] Question on the Western Grebe ID

Great shots, guys!  Wow, you sure saw it better than I did.

It's an interesting question about species ID.  I don't have enough experience 
with the species pair to be overly confident, but I'd have to come down on the 
side of Western here, or perhaps a hybrid.

The face appears paler than a typical winter Western Grebe, but the eye is not 
close to showing out of the dark the way a Clark's should.  The flanks are 
pale, but they do not ever appear as having white in them the way Clark's do.  
The bill is olive-yellow, not clear yellow, and there is an obvious dark bottom 
edge that is typical of Western.  Gary's shot of the back of the neck is pretty 
convincingly wide and dark.

Great bird.  Let's keep the photos coming.

Kevin



From: 
bounce-39533224-3493...@list.cornell.edumailto:bounce-39533224-3493...@list.cornell.edu
 
[mailto:bounce-39533224-3493...@list.cornell.edu]mailto:[mailto:bounce-39533224-3493...@list.cornell.edu]
 On Behalf Of Gary Kohlenberg
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:18 AM
To: david nicosia
Cc: Meena Haribal; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Question on the Western Grebe ID

Hi Dave,
Nice shots. I'm sending a link to the ones I took on Fri., the 3rd, which show 
the view of the hind neck.
I struggled with the separation of Western / Clark's because I don't have 
experience with either bird. I didn't doubt the great birders that found and 
ID'd this guy as Western, but took the opportunity to refine my eye. The field 
guides like Sibley's / Crossley's etc. leave some ambiguity with these guys. 
What I wondered about was light lores and the lighter shading of the flanks 
with a plain demarkation which seems to fall more in line with the Clark's 
illustrations.
The light lores can show in both I gather and the bill is definitely more to 
the olive-yellow end than bright yellow at least in the light that I had, which 
wasn't bad. The hind neck black stripe is broad as you can see in my photo and 
the illustrations of Clark's narrower stripe would seem to be distinctive 
enough to catch my eye. I didn't get any shots of a spread wing. What 
ultimately makes me confident is that I heard this guy vocalizing several 
times. Listening to Lang's recording of both species I have no doubt I was 
hearing a Western Grebe. Clarks Grebe has more of a clear whistle quality than 
the vibrato that reached my ear.

This is a great bird and learning experience. I was excited to finally get look 
after several trips into the wind and waves.

Happy birding,

Gary


[cayugabirds-l] Sapsucker Woods Saw-whet Owll (heard only)

2012-01-26 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   On my way in to work this morning I heard a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL calling in 
the western part of Sapsucker Woods.  I only heard and did not see the bird 
calling from near the top of a tall white pine located south across the path 
from the shelter that is at the intersection of the Wilson Trail and 
Severinghaus Trail.  The calls that I heard were roughly a half-dozen sequences 
of 6 to 8 toot notes, fairly soft but clearly audible.  After the second 
sequence of toots, I whistled back, which I guess prompted a bit more tooting 
by the owl.  However, I don't think that the bird moved as it called, with all 
of the calls seeming to come from somewhere deep in the branches within the top 
2 or 3 metres of the pine.  I am also guessing that the original trigger for 
calling was related to a group of 5 crows that landed in the top of the same 
pine tree, calling loudly but not obviously physically mobbing.

   Oh, and the COMMON REDPOLL is persisting around the feeder garden at the Lab 
of Ornithology, being fairly vocal with both call notes as it flies around and 
the occasional zpp call/partial song.

Wesley



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[cayugabirds-l] Redpoll sp, Mud Lock Sunday (15 Jan.) morning

2012-01-15 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hi everyone,

   Eduardo Inigo kindly invited my along for an around-the-lake trip with 
himself and Maikel Canizares (visiting PhD student, now at the Lab of 
Ornithology), and while filling out my eBird checklists from the trip I noticed 
that we seem to have found the first COMMON REDPOLL for the basin this year.  
We heard (and saw as a dot in the sky) a fly-over redpoll at the Mud Lock boat 
launch area on the north end of Cayuga Lake, and given the relative abundance 
of the two redpoll species I am presuming that it was a Common Redpoll.  As I 
noted, this was a lone, fly-over bird that did not appear to land anywhere near 
where we were standing, so who knows whether it is still in the area, or the 
Basin for that matter.  Be that as it may, it appears that there are redpolls 
for the counting somewhere in the Basin in the 2012 part of this winter.

   I think that the only other birds of note were a small flock of HORNED LARK 
with a lone LAPLAND LONGSPUR just east of the Ovid Airport, in fields to the 
south of Parish Rd.

Wesley Hochachka

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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Goldfinch conjunctivitis?

2011-09-28 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hello all,

   Yes, American Goldfinches can be infected with the same bacterium that 
causes conjunctivitis in House Finches, and infections can lead to the same 
sort of conjunctivitis disease.  However, it appears that a much smaller 
proportion of goldfinches that are infected will actually show signs of the 
disease than with House Finches and typically the disease is less severe in 
goldfinches than in House Finches.  Those are the general patterns that we have 
found.
   There is also the possibility that the conjunctivitis could be caused by an 
avian pox virus: the symptoms can appear similar from a distance.  My 
understanding is that this would be more expected in western North America than 
around here, and so my impression is that the diseased birds that Caroline and 
Marie have seen are likely caused by the Mycoplasma bacteria that have been 
circulating in House Finches since the mid-1990s.

Wesley Hochachka


-Original Message-
From: bounce-38093892-3494...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-38093892-3494...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Marie P Read
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:29 PM
To: Caroline Manring; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] Goldfinch conjunctivitis?

I have had a young goldfinch with what looks to be conjunctivitis at my feeder 
lately.

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-38093863-5851...@list.cornell.edu 
[bounce-38093863-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Caroline Manring 
[carolinemanr...@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:19 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Goldfinch conjunctivitis?

I'm wondering whether goldfinches get conjunctivitis the way House Finches have 
been-- my cousin found a goldfinch that looked to be suffering from something 
similar to the conjuncitivitis I've seen in House Finches, though I couldn't 
see details from the photo. I'd never run into a goldfinch with this problem 
before. Does anyone know about this?

Thanks,

Caroline Manring
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[cayugabirds-l] juv. LITTLE BLUE HERON (I think) Sapsucker Woods just west northwest of Owens platform (white barn pond)!

2011-05-05 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hello all,

   I just happened to glance out my window a minute ago and saw a white large 
gull-like bird fly off of the pond near the white barn in Sapsucker Woods and 
into a tree about 40m west northwest of the platform.  Through binoculars I 
think that it's a juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERON (white heron/egret with long thin 
black bill, and traces of bluish grey feathering on the top of its head, and 
maybe wings).  The bird's still about 15m up in a tree as I type.

Wesley Hochachka

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[cayugabirds-l] OOB: SFO Braddock Bay trip (irony, and notes on basin-proximity birds moving in large numbers today)

2011-05-01 Thread Wesley M Hochachka
Hello everyone,

   I was leading the 7 AM group today (Sunday) on the Spring Field Ornithology 
trip to the banding station at Braddock Bay.  While not strictly speaking an 
all-birding trip (many uncountable birds in the hand...but really nice looks as 
a result), it was a very enjoyable time with: cooperative weather (no rain!), 
chances for people to have wonderfully close looks at a number of species, and 
migrating raptors in number and diversity to make the Derby Hill trip in 
mid-April look silly in comparison: BALD EAGLE, MERLIN, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, 
COOPER'S HAWK, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK, and NORTHERN HARRIER.

   BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEEs and BLUE JAYs were moving eastward along the lake 
shore in very large numbers (we saw one flock of jays numbering over 50 birds 
travelling as a cohesive group --- more than I've seen as a flock in Ithaca 
ever, and I chickadees moving in streams at tree-top level).  Judging by 
numbers of birds banded, two dominant migrant species in the last 24 hours 
along the south shore of Lake Ontario (and the Cayuga Lake basin?) were the 
chickadees, and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETs.

Wesley Hochachka


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