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100 Captures!
This past week the raptor banding station has been quite slow, due in part to the fact that we have been closed for 3 days, including today. Despite that we still were able to catch some birds and actually reached our 100th banded raptor on the 18th. On this date last season we were just...
Updates on Recaptures!
Over the last four weeks, we have had 9 previously banded NSWOs pass through our banding station here at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. Coincidentally, they have all been females! Three of these individuals were banded by Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch owl banders during previous seasons, and 4 of our recaptured individuals were originally banded...
Steady stream of loons
Today’s count at McGulpin yielded the first big push of migrating Common Loons this season, with a total of 74! A few birds were also resting and foraging, an uncommon behavior for the straits. Loons are typically a solitary migrant but will sometimes form loose “flocks”, with birds spaced several hundred meters apart high above...
Island Count- Numbers Update
It’s been a good season so far on Mackinac. While we may not be getting the numbers that are seen at the mail-land count site, a decent number of raptors seem to make use of the islands for migration. By far the most numerous species are Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks. Both season totals are...
What is Banding?
For years, MSRW has been capturing owls and other raptors and ‘banding’ them. Although many folks probably have a vague idea what that means, I thought this would be a good chance to go into details. Banding, or ringing as it is called in Europe, is putting a metal band with a unique number on...
Island Count- Flock of Flickers
This week has been fairly slow. Rain and snow, and today a North wind combined to shut off the raptors. However, I did get a show of Northern Flickers today. As I watched the sky and trees below me for movement, every once in a while I’d spot something. Most often it was an American...
Early Egrets
The highlight of my count at McGulpin a few days ago was a migrating group of Great Egret, an uncommon breeding species in northern Michigan. Great Blue Heron, the most common heron species, have been observed more frequently the past few days. Despite the miserable weather today, I was happy to be greeted by a...
Sharp-shinned Hawk Alert!
A quick update for all of you who have been patiently waiting to hear where our foreign Sharp-shinned hawks (SSHA) were originally banded. First off, it should be mentioned that both of these SSHA’s were captured on the same day (April 5th) and only 9 minutes apart. The first bird we caught, we aged to...
Island Count- Geese and Cranes
While my primary objective is to count the raptors, I also keep track of all migrants. The largest groups of these other birds are the Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes. They are normally pretty easy to get a handle on, but more recently they’ve been a little more difficult. The last few weeks have seen...
It's Raining Raptors
Its’s great to be back again and running MSRW’s raptor banding station for the second season in a row! After having a very successful inaugural season we were all excited for what the second season would bring and there is a lot to tell all you fine folks, so let’s jump right in. Our season...
Local Owl Breeding!
Saturday night we had a special Northern Saw-whet Owl fall into our nets at MSRW’s owl-banding station at Historic Miller Creek Park near Cheboygan. Most owls we catch are migrants or suspected migrants. But this female had a brood patch, meaning that she is nesting, probably within a mile of the banding station. This came...
Grebes in the fog
Waterbird activity has certainly started to pick up during the last few days, although fog has greatly reduced visibility at times. This morning I was greeted by the whinnying courtship duet of several Red-necked Grebes, and as the fog lifted I observed a total of 24 individuals resting on the water! Horned Grebes weren’t quite as...
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