Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hawk banding demo at Cape May Hawk Watch

After Susan left to catch her ferry on Sunday, Delia, Laura and I went to watch the hawk banding demo under the hawk watching platform. It's a popular attraction, getting to be that close to wild raptors.
A moment that made me very proud of Laura...we were gathered around as the program started and some people were standing, seemingly oblivious, in front of a bunch of other people. Laura got there attention and asked if they could move over, since they were blocking the view for the people sitting down on the benches. This dippy broad stepped over maybe 2 feet and then just stood there, still blocking views.
Laura then said, "Or you could just stand there and ignore me!"
I jumped up and down in glee that she stood up for herself and the people who couldn't see anything because of this dippy broad's really broad ASS. So we pushed to the front and then sat down on the ground so that the people could see behind us.
If you haven't met Laura, you don't know that she is a very retiring type of person. Sweet as the day is long, but almost painfully shy. I was so proud of her. Maybe hanging around with Big-Mouthed Me for a few days bolstered her confidence? At least she knew I had her back if there had been trouble.

So, the banding:

hawks in cans

Let's put on our thinking caps here. These are the banded hawks awaiting release. You don't need to see anything else but what you see sticking out of the cans. The one on top is turned the other way so you can't see it, but anyway...
The left: Sharp-shinned hawk. Size is that of a blue jay and the tail is squared off. (the top can also held a sharpie)
The middle: First year red-tailed hawk. Size is just damn big and the brown striped tail tells you that this is a passage year bird.
The right: Cooper's hawk. Size is that of a crow and the tail is rounded.
See how easy it is?

praying sharpie
This sharpie looks like he is praying. When a bird is laying on it's back, it can go into a kind of trance. They aren't really sure which way is up. A slight turn of the little boy's hand snapped the bird out of the stupor and it was gone in a flash.

juv coop cbanding

Cooper's hawk. See that dark brown streaking? First year bird.

first year RT banding

Red-tailed hawk. Pale eyes and as you saw in the first photo, no red tail, but brown striped tail.
As far as the gender of this bird...no sure way to tell. It was at a light weight, but at migration times, that can't really tell you anything. These birds are burning awesome amounts of energy and fat to complete their trip, so everyone is packing light.


Kathi said...

Very helpful ID tips. (If I ever see hawks in cans with their tail feathers stcking out, that is.)

You, a loud mouth? Nah, can't be.

Sounds like you are recovering from the trip from Hell. Glad you're back, we missed you.


KGMom said...

So much fun to hear about the Cape May weekend and all the goings-on.
Hawks in cans--hmmm, a new thought for me.
I just want to know how to identify a really BIG raptor I saw land on a neighbor's chimney. It was at least 2 feet in size--at least so it seemed from my distance. I did not see it fly, so can't tell what shape its tail feathers were, or what color bands etc.

entoto said...

Hawk-In-A-Can! I think you may have started a craze. Nice tutorial, my dear. Are you recovered from the Hall of the Mountain King? Did you have a drop-dead ticket? Hmmm....

Mary said...

I just can't stop thinking about the fear and trembling these birds endure but, it's all for good, I guess.

These photos are wonderful. Hawks are so intriguing and I can't leave them alone!

Of course Laura is the retiring type. The two of you are a good blend... :o)

I'm glad you made it home safely, Susan. What a nightmare. Next yaer will be better, for sure.

LauraHinNJ said...

First off, I mostly pretend to be shy.

It's too much attention that makes me cringe.

It was fun sitting next to you during the demo and hearing all that you had to add.

dguzman said...

That was one of the coolest parts of the weekend--especially when that little boy held the kestrel on his flattened hand. I got shivers of delight!