So much to post, so little time.
*The correct answer to Friday Feathers was a Great horned owl. Laura got it right first!*
Saturday was a jam-packed day. First, I went to RAPTOR to put new jesses on our screech owl, and to also begin my own training with No-No the Barn Owl. The Barn Owl has been jessed up and a few of our members have been training him on the glove. This is a fairly hyper bird, and his wound (amputation at the wrist on one wing) requires that we be gentle and take it slow.
I have been so looking forward to handling him, and at the same time nervous about it.
Cindy, our wonderful Bird Care Director, filled me in, thankfully. No-No will lunge at your face while you try to grab his jesses.
Man, that bird can jump high. And it's not the beak you have to worry about...it's the talons. Barn Owls are all leg and he was able to jump about two feet up, trying to kick at my shins.
I remained calm and confident and after about 5 minutes, was able to grab his jesses. Then the screaming began. Oh. My. God. Barn Owls are very, very good at doing an impression of a woman screaming...or a tea kettle hissing.
We walked around the property for about 20 minutes. When he began to show signs of tiring, I put him back. He was much better than I though he would be. He is not an official education bird yet...he has to be put on our education permit, he needs more training, etc. But the process has begun finally.
After RAPTOR, I met Kathi at Armleder Park. It was officially closed, but we decided to flaunt the rules and go in anyway. (Well, to be honest, Kathi made me. It was her idea.)
We had heard about black terns and bobolinks, so we were panting to get in there and see them.
The first bird we found was not what we expected....
*WARNING: GROSS OUT ALERT. DON'T LOOK IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH*
We came across a wing and a leg.
Surgical-precision cutting...the blood was fresh and still wet. It was some kind of buteo. Could we find the tail, to ascertain what kind?
Yep. About 30 feet away, the tail...and the other leg.
Kathi was good enough to pull aside the tail feathers to show the one, rufus-colored feather.
A second-year red-tailed hawk.
Again, clean-cut but twisted limbs.
About 20 feet further, we found the head and the other wing:
Eyes were still open, showing their sunny yellow color.
The body was twisted but the principal pieces were intact and looked as if they had be cut from the body.
The Chimp would be proud...Kathi immediately realized that this hawk had been hit by a low-flying plane over Armleder Park (which sits just next door to Lunken Airport, a small airport that brings in many planes with propellers.
Now. What do you think the raptor-phile in the group, with a permit to take such beautiful pieces, would do then?
Yep. I took 'em and put them in Kathi's car and take them after our birding walk. I have lots of different pieces of many different species in my education box...but I don't have any RTHA wings. So the pieces were gently, respectfully and quietly put in Kathi's cooler, along with some dead HOSP, starlings and a window-strike cardinal. Her car was the Bird Hearse.
And so the bird walk continued:
We found the Bobolinks immediately.
Not the best picture, but it was windy. Lifer!
And calling on the powers of the Chimp to ID these tracks:
We found indigo bunting males giving chase to each other, tree swallows, red-winged blackbirds, song sparrows, killdeer, etc...etc...
As we were starting to head back, Kathi spotted a small flock (6-8 birds) over head. She yelled out, "BLACK SKIMMERS!!!!!" I thought she had gone off her nut, but she corrected herself and yelled, "BLACK TERNS!" Lifer!
Dickcissels were singing in the grass, and we were able to see a few as they popped up.
It's a dickcissel, I swear.
So two lifers, a bunch of neat local nesters and three fourths of a hawk.