Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bring on the Heat!

The temperatures are rising, but the summer fun continues at Chino! Over at the banding station Amanda Spears, summer CES intern, is capturing a steady amount of birds and managing to avoid the heat so far. During the rain day last week she was able to start some statistical analysis of the banding data, putting her college statistics course to good use! Over in the grasslands at CRFRS the interns are forging ahead with territory mapping and nest searching. On Wednesday June 13th the interns found a whopping total of 3 Dickcissel nests. This past week marked the beginning of bi-weekly surveys of the grasslands conducted by Maren Gimpel, field ecologist, and Rachel Field, CES intern. These data will help develop an understanding of the variety and volume of birds using the grasslands during the breeding season.
Dickcissel decoy for target banding
Dan Small, field ecologist, banded last week along with Jeff Sullivan, summer CES intern, (in between the rainy and windy days) and they were catching a good number of Orchard Orioles. They also put color bands on plenty of Grasshopper and Field Sparrows! Dan is once again engaged in a battle of wits against the male Dickcissels, who are proving to be the most challenging grassland bird to target band. Target banding involves setting up one or two nets in the hopes of catching a specific bird to be color banded. Maybe the latest decoy will tempt some of the males to fly into the nets?
Rachel with one of the Osprey chicks
Over the weekend intrepid volunteers gathered at Chino for the annual Osprey banding effort. Under the direction of long-time volunteer Bill Snyder and bander Jim Gruber, the team went around the farm to the various Osprey platforms and banded the young from the nests. Osprey banding has been carried out on the farm since 1998 and we have banded over 80 individuals. Some of our Osprey have been recovered very far from home. In 2002 one of our Osprey was found shot in Trinidad, and in 2008 another was found in Ecuador. Check out pictures from Osprey banding on CRFRS's Facebook page.
To learn more  about the work at CRFRS in the Grasslands read last week's blog entry: Summer at Chino Farms
Rachel Field is an intern with CES working with various aspects of the research and administration for Chino Farms/CRFRS.

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