Saturday, August 14, 2010

Juvenile (prob hybrid) phoebe on fence

The two juvenile phoebes in the family I have been following seemed to have seen the same feeding feast that the Cedar Waxwings were enjoying and soon flew several hundred feet upstream from where they have been foraging to join in. After awhile this young phoebe perched on the fence only about 25 feet from me. It seemed almost overwhelmed by the number of insects, possibly from a localized caddis hatch, that are flyinItg around and near to it. The phoebes very black head stands out relative to it's body in this clip. It's tail is getting shaggy as it may be losing rectrices in a molt. After feasting for about 30 minutes, the insect hatch appeared to be over--the waxwing flew off upriver and the two young phoebes returned to where they have been foraging for days right near their nest location. SeEtta --don't forget to double-click on the box with the 4 arrows in the bottom right corner of the video clip to enlarge it to full screen viewing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cedar Waxwing enjoying feast

I spotted 2 Cedar Waxwings making long flights out over the Arkansas River near Canon City, CO and clearly catching large flying insects (I was up to 100 feet away and could see the insects in their beaks so they had to be good sized). After watching them, and two juvenile probable hybrid phoebes that apparently also saw them and joined in, make repeated catches this waxwing landed briefly in a tree not far away. This short video clip shows this waxwing devouring this insect but so in a hurry to go after more that it flew off with a piece of wing sticking out from it's bill. Insects, that I suspect were from a caddis fly hatch, can be seen flying in the clip. Double-click on the box with 4 arrows at the bottom of the screen to enlarge for cool full screen viewing. SeEtta

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All the blog chatter got ABA action:bylaws

The following was posted 8-10-10 on Birdchat listserve: "The ABA has convened an ad hoc committee charged with proposing revisions to
the organization's bylaws. Members present at today's first telephone meeting were Lynn Barber (chair), Bryan Patrick, Michael Retter, Bob Warneke, Dan Williams, and Rick Wright.

The committee is interested in all suggestions from interested birders. A report, or in the case of divergences of opinion, majority and minority reports, will be completed by September 13.

I will be happy to receive and distribute any communications you would
rather not post to birdchat.
--
Rick Wright
http://birdaz.com/blog

Sharon Stiteler also weighs in on ABA problems

Sharon Stiteler, aka Birdchick Birdchick posted on her blog about the current and continuing American Birding Association problems with suggestions including the following: "I’d also be in favor of getting someone who was a higher up at Ducks Unlimited on the board to help build an organization that cannot only bring birders together but turn it into a voice to be listened to at Congress and raise money for habitat." I think that's a great idea. The hunters like Ducks Unlimited know how to not only advocate for their recreation of choice but save habitat. Many of us birders owe some of habitat, and/or birds protected by the habitat, that Ducks Unlimited has funded or pushed for protections from Congress. SeEtta

More "hot" links about Am Birding Association crisis

Here is a blog called Aimophila Adventures with more provocative thoughts about the American Birding Associations current crisis. There are also some interesting comments below it.

The more I read on ABA, the worse it gets. The following is from Jon Dunn as posted as a comment on Kenn Kaufmann's blog, "ABA AS NOW CONSTITUTED IS A STRUCTURALLY CORRUPT ORGANIZATION and unless that changes the rest is just a waste of time." Wow!

Another part of a comment on this on Kenn Kaufmann's blog, this one from Brush Freeman, "I dropped ABA in part because it became more and more a less GREEN org., touting the 'who gives a flip" accomplishments of individuals that burn barrels of oil chasing a single species for some sort of stupid list. Frankly no one cares about my list or yours, so why does ABA even bother with this garbage anymore..?. " You go Brush!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Bird People"--article about Am BirdingAssoc

Click on Bird People for a very provocative article about the American Birding Association with an emphasis on their lack of attention to conservation. Unlike many other organizations that target recreational activities (such as Ducks Unlimited, a group for those interested in hunting waterfowl that is very similar in many ways to ABA but that puts a lot of effort into conservation of ducks and their habitats), ABA has put little attention to conservation of birds (the object of their members recreation) and they are not much on advocating for birding recreation. Ironically their most recent executive director told me several years ago when he just got to Colorado to head up ABA that he was going to increase their conservation effortsSeEtta

Phoebes-Day 16 post fledging

Today I saw the last of the young from the phoebe family I have been following flying after insects by itself for awhile. After awhile, a parent bird appeared though I didn't see it feed this young bird which is pictured above. Later I saw a third phoebe, another bird in juvenal plumage, come near to the other two phoebes so I expect it is one of the other young that gained independence but came back here as it is a very good feeding area (and maybe it thought it could get a meal from the parent bird?). This other young bird looked like the photo below which I took yesterday of the second to last fledgling to become independent. SeEtta

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

At least one fledgling still being fed

This morning I stopped by briefly to check on the phoebe fledglings progress. I only saw one fledgling, one that I believe to be slightly but noticeably larger than it's siblings (I know, they all look alike but I have been observing dozens of phoebes over the years and some for weeks on end, and I have found that many do have plumage that is subtly different). It was located near the nest site and appeared to be alone. It flew out after a number of insects with only occasional success. After a time the adult bird appeared, caught an insect which it fed to the fledgling--again the adult is supplementing the fledglings food but letting it practice.

This evening when I returned to my friend's place to walk my dogs at dusk, as soon as I parked my car I heard 'tseep' calls (the calls these probably hybrid phoebes, as well as Black Phoebes, make). A parent phoebe and one fledgling were sallying after insects from a structure next to the Arkansas River (and one of the good feeding locations). The fledgling flew out repeatedly after insects with limited success then the parent bird fed it. After my walk I returned and watched the phoebes until almost dark. The fledgling phoebe continued it's forays after flying insects until 8:24 pm--sunset was 8:03 pm here. This was a hungry young bird intent on filling it's belly as much as it could before dark. SeEtta

Monday, August 9, 2010

More info on phoebe family

Though I got some video, I had a meeting for which my Audubon chapter has conservation concerns so I haven't had time to edit and upload it. But I wanted to get some additional info out about this probable hybrid phoebe family. While I watched yesterday morning, the parent bird fed each of the two young for 5-10 minutes. Then the adult flew to the opposite sided of the Arkansas River quickly followed by the apparent fledglings (since they aren't independent yet, they are still fledglings). The adult flew out a number of times capturing insects in this area. After a few minutes, the adult flew to another location on the south side of the river where it sallied out and caught a number of insects. Each of these locations are places along the Arkansas River where I have seen many previous phoebes feeding and I associate them as good feeding locations--it would seem that this adult bird does also.

A short time later one of the fledglings returned to the spot near the nest site (also a good feeding area). I watched it proceed to fly out after insect after insect with no parent in sight. Though I saw it catch at least one insect, suffice it to say it's insect catching skills left something to be desired--and still no adult. Then the winds came up and this poor young bird wasn't catching anything. Here came the adult phoebe--it perched briefly, then flew out and immediately caught an insect which it fed to the fledgling. It would seem that the adult was supplementing the fledglings catches (had it been watching?).

I am trying not to anthropomorphize but it appeared that the parent bird had brought it's two remaining dependents to various good eating places, showing them how to get their food. Then this fledgling was left to practice feeding and fending for itself, though the parent was nearby to make sure it didn't starve. Very, very interesting behavior. SeEtta

Phoebe young still being fed!

After losing track of the phoebe family for several days and thinking the young were independent with each one moving on, I was surprised to find a parent with 2 young phoebes yesterday right next to the location where they nested. And I was more surprised to see the parent feeding each of the young birds--these young phoebes were now 15 days from fledging! This surprised me as the Black Phoebes (at least both parents appeared to be Black Phoebes and not in intermediate plumage as one of these parents) that I have followed in the past have caught their own food much earlier than this. However, since these are apparent hybrid BlackXEastern Phoebes, I checked Birds of North America online and found that the little documentation they have on Eastern Phoebes indicates they may be fed by parents up to 14-17 days post fledging. This source had little info on young Black Phoebes but there is evidence that young of this species will start making 'foraging flights' during the first 3 days post fledging. Interesting. More later. SeEtta

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quiet W. Wood-Pewee video clip

Western Wood-Pewees are usually very difficult to videotape as they are usually repeatedly flying out to catch an insect. I found this quiet wood-pewee loafing on a branch though it's head is usually in motion as it follows all the insects flying in the area. SeEtta