Ask SIB … Why do I hear the Great Horned Owl in the Fall?

Great Horned Owl – Ed Konrad

Question:  For a few weeks each spring and again in the fall we hear Great Horned Owls calling back and forth out here on Jenkins Point. I’ve seen them on our roof ridge and chimney. The rest of the year we don’t hear them at all. Spring could be breeding season but why in the fall? Do these owls migrate? Submitted by Andy Allen

Answer:  Great Horned Owls are resident birds who maintain some type of territory through the year. Singing in the fall probably identifies the resident’s ownership and tells new young to go somewhere else… Neat birds – I slept in a chicken coop next to two young owls for a summer in New England. We didn’t bother each other as long as I stayed on my side of the wall… The joys of working with Audubon! Response from Carl Helms

 Thanks to Andy for the question, Carl for the response and Ed for the photo!

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Ask SIB … American Robins

Once again, this winter there is a lot of discussion about American Robins.  Below is a series of Q&A’s to share with all our readers.

American Robin – Ed Konrad

Question:  We’ve seen a flock of American Robins in the edge of scrub on the north side of Jenkins Point Road. Isn’t it early for them to be coming thru? We usually don’t see them until late February. (Submitted by: Andy Allen) Continue reading “Ask SIB … American Robins”

Ask SIB: Project FeederWatch Q&A

Nearly a dozen SIB members are participating in the 2017-2018 Project FeederWatch program.  During a seminar held earlier this week, one of the members asked a great question:

Q:  My backyard is legally ended by a tidal creek that flows in to a marsh behind my neighbor’s house.  The neighbor has a dock.  I know I don’t count birds in flight but if there are birds perched on the dock or in the marsh, should I include them in my counts?  Also, if there are birds scavenging at low tide in the mud of the creek or swimming by on high tide, should they be included?

Since this is an important questions as many of us live on or near marsh, beach, rivers, etc, Judy Morr sent the question to Project Feeder.  Below is their answer:

A: It gets a little tricky counting near water. If any of the birds are attracted to something you provide (feeder, birdbath, plants, stocked fish in a pond etc…), please include them in the count. If you think the birds would be at that location regardless of anything you provide, please exclude them. For example, if a bird is foraging at the tide line or resting at the dock, I would exclude it. However, if ducks come up into your yard to forage, I would include them. I hope that helps.

 Thank you for FeederWatching,

Chelsea Benson
Project Assistant
Project FeederWatch
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

If you are interested to learn more about Project FeederWatch, please read our BLOG or visit their website www.feederwatch.org  and join today!

Submitted by:  SIB Communication Team

Ask SIB: What to do if You Find a Bird with a Band?

The Sidebottom children, from left to right Reves (5), Ella (5) and Wesley (4), holding the deceased first year Painted Bunting.

On September 3, 2017, SIB received an email from Richard Sidebottom. 

“We live in Charleston and are out here often. My in-laws (the kids grandparents) are Jerry and Jenny Reves, who have had a house here since 1995. Jerry is the former Dean at MUSC and writes the wellness column in The Seabrooker. 

We arrived out here from town yesterday and the kids saw a dead yellow and black/gray bird on the deck and also noticed the identification band around its leg. My kids enjoy looking at the nature guides (including Audubon / Peterson’s Field Guide) that their grandparents have at the house, so we tried to identify it. We think it may be a female Painted Bunting. It occurred to me this morning as we were trying to figure out how to bury it that we should ask whether someone should know about the band. The band says:  OPEN 2721 ABRE, 24834

Thanks, 

Richard Sidebottom

The two photos below were attached:

Nancy Brown, the SIB Communications Chair, corresponded with Richard and provided the USGS link to report banded birds so he could officially report the condition of the bird.
https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/bblretrv/index.cfm

Nancy also sent a note to Aaron Given, Wildlife Biologist on Kiawah Island, who manages a bird banding station on Kiawah.  As she suspected, Aaron responded:  “We banded it on 8/26/17 at the Captain Sam’s site on the west end of Kiawah.  This is a hatch-year bird because of the buffy edging on the wing coverts therefore the sex is unknown. The most likely cause of death was by window strike.” 

When you report a banded bird to the USGS, you will receive a certificate of appreciation, similar to the one below sent to the Sidebottom family.

USGS Certificate of Appreciation

If you missed any of SIB’s other blogs about banded birds, you can find them by searching on the “Banding” category, or click on this link.

Read the article below to learn more about finding birds with leg bands:

Continue reading “Ask SIB: What to do if You Find a Bird with a Band?”