Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's worth the download time...I promise.

This is what the girls and I did today:

The nest
We visited a red-shouldered hawk nest, and got to watch a banding!

Jeff climbs 1
Jeff (from RAPTOR) is the resident crazy tree-climber.
This was a very tall, very beautiful sycamore.
Melinda Preps
Melinda prepped her banding stuff while Jeff made the climb.

Chick 1
Here's the first chick....and guess who got to hold the chicks?
Girls and chicks 2
My chicks!
(I thought they would be able to maybe touch a chick with one finger, or something!)

There are three chicks in this nest and the girls named them: Kissy, Fiesty and Skittles.
(And for my in-laws and anyone else who would be worried about the safety of my kids: 16 day-old hawk chicks don't have the strength in their legs to do any damage. They can't even sit up at this age.)
It's hot out here
It was 90 degrees today, and since birds don't sweat, they have to pant.
I will call her <span class=
I think this one is Kissy....
This is very undignified
"This is very undignified, lady."
Susan Gates and chick
Susan Gates, a fellow RAPTOR volunteer, came by to see the banding, too.
Measuring wing feathers
Measurements of the 10 th wing feathers were taken...
Measuring toe pads
...and also the length of the toe pads.
Weighing chick
They were weighed, and all are healthy.
The bands were placed, and the legs do not get any bigger, so there are no worries about the bands someday getting too tight.
Clamping band

Imagine this drama going on in your front yard?????
RS chick and me
You know I had to get one in my hands.
They look very fluffy, but they don't really feel fluffy. It was more like a cat that is left outdoors...gritty and kind of rough.
Lorelei helps Melinda with the bag of chicks
Lorelei helped Melinda take the bag of chicks back to the tree so they could be lifted up to the nest, where Jeff was waiting.
Melinda has received SuperHero status with Isabelle and Lorelei. I asked Isabelle what she thought of Melinda for letting them hold the chicks, and she said, "Melinda ROCKS."

Macro chick

Jeff and chick up top
People who do this sort of thing must be a little crazy. But gutsy, too.
What a neat thing to be able to do on a regular basis!
good pic of chicks in nest
(Photo by Jeff Hays)
All chicks were returned safely to their nest.
And just as Jeff was finished, one of the parents came back, landed in the nest right in front of Jeff, suddenly realized that a person was in the tree, dropped a meadow vole in the nest, and took off. He came back again and again, screaming and swooping at Jeff.
Did I get pictures of that?
Nope. I was too caught up in the moment.
Did I remember that I can take video with my camera? Nope.
(He wasn't hurt...but he felt the wings of the parent as it zoomed by)
So, Birdchick and Lynne may have seen a peregrine banding, but I got to hold one and so did my kids.
Neener. Neener.


Mary said...

Your last comment cracked me up. Your photos are labeled private - I tried to enlarge them.

To have this near my home? I'd lose my mind with excitement. I'd melt with one near my neck.

YOU ROCK, Susan! What more can I say? Oh, your girls are soooo lucky to have you.

And I'm glad you posed before I go to bed. You are early tonight.

Susan Gets Native said...

Mary: I always forget to change them back to public!

I AM early tonight. I couldn't wait to get these pics up!

Lynne said...




You are sooo lucky (as are your girls)! It took me forever to get through your post because I had to click on each and every picture!!

Very cool beans!

Neener neener humbly accepted.

Trixie said...

WOW! Holy cow! My girls would have been over the moon (as would I).

also, how cool is this word verification? tvetv?

Jayne said...

What a wonderful series of shots Susan! How sweet to see your girls get to hold them. They will remember this for a lifetime.

nina said...

Yes, they will remember that!
Who decides what hawks get banded? Do all reachable red-shouldered hawks--because they are less plentiful? Or was this just a random thing for study purposes?

Patrick Belardo said...

Very cool! It's interesting how you describe the feeling of the plumage. Who knew? They definitely have a face only a mother could love. I mean the birds, not your chicks, of course! :)

beth said...

Wow. That's really, really cool. Great pics and wonderful story. Kind sorta feel like I was there, too...

Liza Lee Miller said...

So cool! My kids would fall all over themselves in glee so I can imagine how yours reacted. Love it!

Susan Gets Native said...

Nina: The banding is part of a 10 year study of RS hawks nesting in residential areas vs. woodlands away from people.
Of course, if you ever had a nest near you and wanted the chicks banded, you could contact a local bander and they might do it for you.

NatureWoman said...

What an awesome day Susan!!! And awesome photos! This sure is a day for you and your girls to remember!!!! And baby hawks are sooo cute!

Q said...

Wow! In your yard!
Just having the nest is wonderful but to be part of the banding, awesome.
thank you for posting this. I enjoyed each photo and your commentary.

Susan Gets Native said...

LOL! Such a gracious gal you are.

The girls were actually stunned into good behavior! It was amazing.

Thanks. I took a million pics and had a hard time picking just these!

It was like holding very warm, humid dryer lint.
: )

I really wanted to capture the whole process. There's a lot more than just grabbing chicks. It was too cool for words.

I was more vocal and crazy than the girls. They were in AWE.

Aren't they? Even if they are piles of greasy fluff, they have that wonderful fierce look in their eyes.

They were in a neighboring town. I would FREAK if they were in MY yard! It was so much fun to be a part of.

mon@rch said...

Such a wonderful experience for both you and your girls to be a part of! I love seeing the whole process that you were able to capture with this post! Bravo!