Showing posts from July, 2010

Name That Bird!!

Let's see how good you folks are at IDing your birds.  I'm keeping score!  There are a couple of difficult ones here, so maybe just a smidgen of cheating allowed...but test yourself first!

Prairie to the Peaks

An abrupt transition.  After a seemingly quick field season searching for raptor nests in the lowlands, I headed straight to the highlands above Boise to start my next field job.  I remain working for the Idaho Bird Observatory (IBO), but I am now a bird bander, replacing my former title of nest searcher.  IBO has managed a banding operation at the top of Lucky Peak (just outside of Boise, above Lucky Peak Reservoir) for about 17 years, capturing and banding all the fall migrating birds, everything from small, perching birds (technically termed Passerines or "LBJ's"-Little Brown Jobbies- for all nonbirders) to owls to large raptors.  I have been hired for the capture and banding of the small dudes.

So how do we capture the birds? least to the birds.  We set up fine, mesh nets (we have ten total scattered around the top of Lucky Peak) which the birds cannot see.  When they fly into the nets (mist-nets, as we call them), they usually get all tangled up and …

A Desert for a Moose to Wander

Heidi and I were pleasantly surprised to find a young bull moose in the most unlikely of places.  Wandering across the dry grass and sagebrush country of the Bennett Hills, the little dude was very far from any good moose habitat.  Most of the creeks in the canyons have dried up, and it is a long walk in any direction to any good eatins.  As weird as the sighting was, it exemplifies the importance of the conservation of corridors for wildlife.  As is, the Bennett Hills provide wonderful habitat for a great variety of desert (sage grouse, burrowing owls, pronghorn antelope, raptors, etc, etc) and non-desert species (as represented by the black bears and the Pacific tree frog mentioned and photographed in previous posts).  But the Bennett Hills are also a travel corridor, a passageway for dispersing individuals to get from one population to another.  The ability of wildlife populations to do so is critical in maintaining genetic diversity as well as reducing the effects of inbreeding i…