Posts Tagged With: house sparrow

Prophetstown State Park – March 29, 2016

SAC and I decided to run up to Prophetstown State Park today. We had a sunny start to the day with a temperature of 46 degrees.

A sign on a roadblock across one of the roads blocked off the “back” portion of the park for a controlled burn of the prairie. We decided to hike Trail 1 (I think it is) through the campground and then Trail 2 to the Fishing Pond and then back the same part of Trail 2 to Trail 1 to the Bluestem picnic area.

Prophetstown burn

Birds Seen:

  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue Jay
  • House Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Red-shouldered Hawk pair chasing Red-tailed Hawk pair in a dramatic aerial flight
  • Field Sparrow
  • Northern Flicker
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Red-winged Blackbirds
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Song Sparrow
  • Mallard
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Bluebird
  • Barn Swallow

Prophetstown burn2

By the time we hiked to the Fishing Pond, the park employees had started the controlled burn. It looked to be the area on Trail 3 and the part of Trail 2 that was on the South side of the road. We watch the massive flames and huge roils of smoke as the fire quickly caught and then just as quickly extinguished. We watch for a long time as they fire came closer to the road.

As we walked back to our car, we decided to eat our lunch facing the fire and watch even longer. Check out this DNR explanation for the reason State Parks and other prairie reserves have controlled burns.

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Categories: Birding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicentennial Birding – February 6

Zoomed in Snowy owlWe went on a quest to find the Snowy Owl that had been seen all week in White County north of Brookston. Since that area is old home place to my husband, he looked at the coordinates listed and drove us right to it. It was right on the side of the road, so we kept our distance and took pictures with both the camera and IPhone “digiscoped” with the binoculars. When we were finished viewing it, we turned around in the road and went back the way we had come, so we wouldn’t disturb it.

Birds Seen in White County:

  1. Snowy Owl
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Horned Lark
  4. Canada Geese
  5. American Crow

We drove on up to Kankakee Sands as there had been short eared owls spotted there during the week. We tried this last year on our way back for our First Day Hike at the Indiana Dunes State Park (see previous post). And like our try last year, we failed to find the short ears. Someone called the cops on the 10 or so cars scattered around the preserve, complaining of cars blocking the road. So we left Newton County and spent our money on supper in Benton County!

Zoomed out Snowy owl

Birds seen at Kankakee Sands:

  1. Rough-legged Hawk
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Northern Harrier
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Red-winged Blackbird (First of Year)
  6. Sandhill Cranes

Z Northern Harrier

Bicentennial Birding – February 7

We went to Turkey Run State Park today. Beautiful mostly sunny and about 50 degrees. On our way there, we saw:

  1. Turkey Vulture (First of Year in Darlington, Montgomery County) (see previous post).

Birds Seen at Turkey Run:

  1. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  2. Red-headed Woodpecker
  3. Downy Woodpecker
  4. White-breasted Nuthatch
  5. American Goldfinch
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Tufted Titmouse
  8. Carolina Chickadee
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Northern Cardinal
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Bald Eagle
  13. Canada Geese
  14. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  15. American Crow

And on our annual pilgrimage to find Skunk Cabbage blooming!!!! (see previous post). Yay! Skunk Cabbage! Between the Vultures and the red- winged blackbird returning and the skunk cabbage blooming, we have hope for Spring soon!

On our way home from Turkey Run, we drove past Lye Creek Burn. We have never seen the Lapland Longspurs, but what we did see made us VERY happy!

Burn

Birds Seen at Lye Creek Burn:

  1. Northern Harrier
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Mallard
  4. Greater White-Fronted Goose
  5. Northern Pintail
  6. Redhead
  7. Ross’s Goose

And the local eagle nest along Sugar Creek has an adult sitting on the nest!

 

Categories: Birding, First Of Year, Life Birds, Montgomery County, Parke County, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wednesday in the Wild – Up-Close Bird ID Using Mist Nets

Today I took my older sister BJ to the Wednesday in the Wild program at Wah-Ba-Shika Nature Center in Battleground, Indiana. Mick and Sally Weeks, Purdue Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, were the presenters of this week’s program.

Mick Weeks explained that in research, it is easier if you have the bird in hand in order to sex the bird, age the bird, and get an overall census of the area.

You need a federal permit to capture the birds. A bird left in a mist net for as little as 30 minutes is in danger of dying. Songbirds are protected by law in the U.S. and it is illegal to have birds, nests, or feathers. In Europe, it is still legal to capture and eat songbirds.

Why is ageing a bird important? To assess productivity of birds in a certain area. It general takes about two weeks for birds to mature from hatching to flying.

Looking at plumage helps sex the bird. This time of year, birds may still be brooding. Mostly female birds have a brood patch. Most males do not help with brooding. A brood patch will show as a raised, blister-like area filled with fluid if she is still incubating.

Dr. Weeks also talked about bird banding, although they didn’t band any birds today.

Birds Netted:

  • Goldfinch – male – BJ got to hold him and I got to pet him
  • House Sparrow – male, female, and immature
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – male
  • Red-winged Blackbird – female
Categories: Birding, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring House Cleaning

DSC_0487It looks like someone is trying to tell me that it is way past time to clean out the old nests from the wren house on the porch! I haven’t heard the wren yet this year, but it is obviously here! I don’t like this style of wren house – the slot to open and clean it out is way too small for all the sticks the wrens put in it.

Heard the screech owl whinnying this morning as I stepped out my door at 7. And when I left work at 3 this afternoon, a flock of Sandhill cranes flew over the parking lot! The day was sunny to cloudy and 38 degrees this afternoon.

Daughter saw a very small and very reddish squirrel in our back yard today.

Feeder watch & yard watch:DSC_0466

  • Crow
  • House Sparrows
  • Chickadees
  • Cardinals
  • House Finches
  • American Tree Sparrows
  • Juncos
  • Mourning doves
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Robins
Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Montgomery County, Spring, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count logo

As I have in the past few years, I counted birds in my backyard for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place February 15, 16, 17 and 18. All they (GBBC is a joint project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada) ask you to do is count the highest number of each species seen during your reported period. This can be as little as 15 minutes a day. The hardest part of this is counting the little spatzies that flock to my tray feeder each day. I know I am not “supposed” to like House Sparrows as they are not native, but they are very beautiful birds.

My counts for the day are:

Species February 15 February 16 February 17 February 18
American Crow 1 1
American Robin 1
American Tree Sparrow 3 3
Black Capped Chickadee 2 2 1
Blue Jay 3 3
Cardinal 4 5 5
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1
Dark-eyed Junco 2 1
Downy Woodpecker 1 2
European Starling 1
House Finch 1 4
House Sparrow 34 44 40
Mourning Doves 2 2 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1 1
Tufted Titmouse 1 1
White Breasted Nuthatch 2 1
Time Counted 2 hours 15 minutes 6 hours 30 minutes 30 minutes Was not able to keep count

As usual family obligations and something called jobs, prevented us from counting much on all days, but the count is a pretty good overall picture of our backyard birds. The Mourning Dove count is way down from several years ago. 2010 saw 30-50 birds.

DSC_0177

Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Great Backyard Bird Count, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock River Landing Eagle Nest


DSC_0018
Sunny and cold today, 23-29 F with a snow cover. Typical birds at the backyard feeder:

  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Chickadee
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Starlings
  • House Sparrows
  • Cardinals
  • Blue Jay
  • Junco
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker

Went to Rock River Landing along the Sugar Creek Rail Trail in Crawfordsville to look at the eagle nest. It’s right off the parking lot!

Saw an adult eagle on our way there, flying upstream along Sugar Creek at the SR 136 bridge.Saw 3 kestrels on the drive and 2 red-tails. Also saw a Turkey Vulture flying over the Kroger parking lot!

Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Montgomery County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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