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Island Count- Numbers Update
As my time on the island in coming to and end, many people are interested in the numbers so far. In general, my species variety has been what I expected. Broad-winged Hawks lead the numbers game with 3,879 so far, followed next by Red-tailed Hawks with 2,358. The next most common are Turkey Vultures at...
Red-tail is the name of the game
As the season winds down there is no shortage of action at the raptor station. Late spring migration can sometimes be better for catching raptors due to the fact that this is the time when young birds are primarily moving and they are a lot easier to catch then adults. The reason being, they are...
Feeling 22!
As we near the mid-way point in May our raptor banding season is still going strong! My last update was on April 28th and at that point we stood at 121 total captures on the season. Including today we now stand at 183 total captures of 7 different species. Now let’s dive into some of...
Migration draws to a close
Activity on the straits has waned over the past few days, as many of the resting waterbirds have moved on towards their inland breeding grounds. Species that were once abundant, including Common Goldeneye, Redhead, Scaup, and Grebes, are in short supply at both of my sites. Gulls and Cormorants aren’t quite as active or vocal...
Slow days on the straits
I can’t seem to catch a break with the weather lately. Persistent rain, fog, and northern winds have reduced migration to a slow trickle. Over the past few days I’ve observed many birds moving south as a sort of “exodus” from the UP. Despite the weather, I’m still seeing interesting things! The first Spotted Sandpipers...
Island Count- Feast/ Famine
We all know that migration, or lack there of, is very weather dependent. A few days ago, I had a good day with kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and over 30 Bald Eagles. That would qualify as a feast! Yesterday, the 3rd, was a famine day, with rain for the majority of the day, and only...
Night Sights and Sounds
At MSRW’s owl-banding station at Mill Creek Historical Park, we are up all night checking the mist nets and banding owls. An added perk is that we hear and see other creatures while we are out there. The most common sounds we hear are those of other owls. A pair of Barred Owls live up...
Influx of Long-tailed Ducks
Conditions at McGulpin today were ideal for counting, with excellent visibility and near-perfectly still waters. This revealed season-high numbers of resting Long-tailed Ducks strung out across the straits (~1300). Their distinctive noisy calls can be heard from great distances, as they are often the only waterbird vocalizing at any given moment. The haunting wail of...
Red-tailed Hawk Movement Update
The raptor banding season so far has been very productive, as of April 28th we stand at 121 raptors banded of 6 species. It is also worth noting that we have not even been banding for a month, and have lost quite a few days due to weather, so we are happy to say the...
A lull in migration
Strong winds from the north and unfavorable weather seem to have halted migration during the past several days. I’m seeing loons move in decent numbers at McGulpin, but I expect that the biggest push is yet to come. The dominant species at this point in the season is (unsurprisingly) Red-breasted Merganser, while numbers of Long-tailed...
Finally! Our 100th Saw-whet Owl of the Season
Last night, under a hazy full-ish moon, we finally caught our 100th Northern Saw-whet Owl of the season at MSRW’s owl-banding station at Historical Mill Creek Park. The second-year female was already banded; she was banded last fall near Valparaiso, IN. At the end of March, when we had caught 62 owls in a little...
Weather and a Black Vulture
April continues to be a real mix bag of weather events with as many poor migration days lately as good. Even as I write this, the temperature hovers at the freezing point with heavy overcast after being in the sixties and sunny a couple days ago. Makes you wonder how the hawks manage to migrate...
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