Fun Challenges and Cautionary Tales from Fall Banding

Steve Brenner|

Fall migration out east is a conflicting time for birders: the rarity machine is usually churning out goodies after goodies. Also, fall warblers dressed in brand-new plumage are pulsing through the woodlots of every town. These days most birders have come to appreciate the subtle nuances of fall warblers. The ID challenge is fun and rewarding, and in a way …

Winging their Way to a Forest Near You

Cameron Rutt|

Amazingly, we’re already well into the second half of April, which probably means a lot more to the rest of you North American birders than it does to me right about now… See, I’ve been stationed here in Manaus, Brazil, for most of the past year, which means that there is vanishingly little seasonal turnover in the mature Amazon rainforest. (If …

The Bird with…*Spots*

Cameron Rutt|

Fieldwork in a new locale necessarily brings with it a steep learning curve. Everything is foreign from the lay of the land to the host of simplicities that we all take for granted in a familiar location, like knowing where to find those mundane features of ordinary life: ATMs, groceries, and other various appliances (try finding a decent spatula around …

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Among Amazonian Royalty

Cameron Rutt|

As a sluggish day of bird-banding drew wearily to a close, Osmaildo (one of my Brazilian mateiros) approached the station with a trio of once-white bird bags. The mateiros have literally spent years of their lives in the Amazon rainforest and, as such, not much seems to faze them anymore. Thus, their dispassionate expressions betray little and I am often …

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The dawn of my own Amazon Trails

Cameron Rutt|

My first trip into the Amazon Rainforest could be broken down like this. Day 2: Discover snake in camp toilet. Day 3: Spot first venomous snake. Day 6: Get soaked in drenching morning downpour while felling trees. Day 7: Get bit by an owl. Day 9: Finally dry off and begin to beat back the encroaching mold. Of course, this …

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Santa Rosa Island Raptor banding 2015

Anna Fasoli|

I’ve been working on Santa Rosa Island for the Institute for Wildlife Studies for nearly four months now, monitoring Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle nests. This week was banding week on SRI, the culmination of all of our hours of observation and hiking. I have lots of photos from the last few months and posts to write, but I figured I’d …

Eagle Madness

Steve Brenner|

When it comes to raptors, eagles often come out on top in every category. And why not? They are massive, long-lived, fierce, majestic, and did I mention that they are very large? Whether it’s soaring past a hawkwatch or giving Gandalf a ride to freedom, eagles are worth looking at every time. Easily one of the most rewarding experiences of …

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Hawk Migration Up-Close and Awesome

Steve Brenner|

This fall, I’m stationed atop Capilla Peak in the Manzano Mountains, about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque. My purpose: count, identify, and band as many migrating raptors as possible. Myself and three others are working for Hawkwatch International, an organization devoted to the conservation of North American raptors. There is nothing quite like a complete immersion into the miracle of …

Florida Field Season Highlights

Anna Fasoli|

I’ve been in Florida for just about six months once again working for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and this is the first time I have ever spent an entire summer in Florida for an extended field season. The humidity is no joke down here; in late June I was sure that a slow death by dehydration was upon me. …

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Piping Plovers – Beyond Cute

Jordan Rutter|

Many birders are familiar with this small migratory shorebird and some know of its endangered status. Not to mention the fact that they’re adorable. But there’s a lot more about Piping Plovers (PIPL) than their good looks. There are two subspecies in three distinct populations of Piping Plovers. The Atlantic coast has its own subspecies (Charadrius melodus melodus) while the internal …