Be a Better Birder Tutorial 1

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November 14, 2014

No Sign of Barn Owls for 9 Days

We have not seen Mom or Dad visit the nest box for 9 days now. Barn Owls usually select a sheltered location to roost. They like to use an established favored site, which is then used for breeding. However it is likely that other suitable roosts exist in a bird's territory, which may cover up to a kilometer in any direction. This alternative roost site may have been discovered when the young were getting larger and the adults were unable to fit in the nest box. Barn Owls are not known to migrate and there is no evidence of migration established in most studies of marked individuals conducted in North America and Europe. The species remains resident in winter even at northern limits of their breeding range in the western Palearctic and no clear directional movement trends have been documented in Europe. Therefore, both Mom and Dad should be near by, and are likely roosting in a second location within the territory, either together or apart over the fall/winter months. 

November 13, 2014

Hairy Woodpecker Chases Off Blue Jay

As we can see from this clip the Hairy Woodpecker puffs up her feathers and spreads her wings a little. This is rather a mild interaction. If the Blue Jay stuck around a little longer we may have seen some displacement pecking, but the Jay wisely left. When attacked or during a close territorial conflict, a Hairy Woodpecker will hold its wings over its back at about a 45° angle. This “Full-wing Threat Display” posture may even be assumed in flight. In a threat display, the head is often held high and back in an exaggerated position. Winter territoriality may be infrequent under natural conditions, but increased in the vicinity of feeders.  

November 12, 2014

The Rattler Returns

This time we get to see the rattle in action in the presence of another Blue Jay. Check out their spacing, posture and general movements. It is assumed that only females give the rattle call. Is this jay just excited or could she be giving an alert call?  

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Be a Better Birder Tutorial 3