It was a brown bird bonanza yesterday at Carpenter Nature Center. I was in brown bird heaven watching all the Harris Sparrows (that's one pictured above) and getting the chance to see them up close and personal during banding. I was hoping to get them on the NovaBird Camera, but alas, all I was a chipping sparrow:
I could not get enough of those Harris sparrows. For a little brown job, it's quite striking with that orange bill highlighting all the black around it. The photo below are both a male and a female Harris sparrow. Can you tell which is which?
Yeah, I can't either. The black surrounding the bill has more to do with age than sex. The banders used wing cord ( the length of the wing from the wrist to the tip of the longest primary) to tell them apart. The bird on the left is a female, the bird on the right is a male--according to the length of their wing cords. You can learn all this stuff if you come to Carpenter on Friday's for banding.
As I was working on this entry, I got a call from Kim Kaufman in northern Ohio. She was telling me about the big warbler push they were getting the last few days at their banding station. I told her that up here Minnesota we were getting a big sparrow push here and that's when she told me that she banded 92 white-throated sparrows (pictured below) on Tuesday at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge--sheesh! I'm pooped just thinking about it.
Kim was trying to make me drool with her reports of banding cerulean warblers and golden-winged warblers and I told her of our Harris sparrows and she was a little jealous of what we had going on up here.
We are getting quite a few white-throats and white-crowned sparrows up here. After the two birds above were banded I wanted to take a quick photo. As I was doing this, the dude on the right started to squeak a little setting off all of the sparrows around Carpenter. They were like our own personal pishing devices. As soon as the birds were let go, calm was restored to Carpenter's feeder area.
One white-throat in particular really intrigued me. Check out the guy in the above photo. He had some yellow on the feathers around the wrist. I had never noticed that before, but then again, I've never had a white-throat this close before.
These are just classy looking sparrows! I can't get enough of them. For the non birders that periodically check this blog, these are the ones that go "Oh Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody" or according the second edition Kaufman guide "Oh Sweet Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly". Kim Kaufman says that they are saying, "Oh band me, Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly."
And to be fair, since last week I showed male bird hoohas, I figure turn about is fair play. Here is a female robin brood patch. Female birds get these open patches on their breast to help incubate eggs. Surrounding feathers help keep her warm when she's not incubating.
If there are major typos, I apologize, blogger spell check is down and I'm too tired to look it over. Ah well, at least it's a sign an actual person types this blog and not some corporation.