Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3rd Weekend of Banding 2017


Hello Friends,

Rick and I met Chuck at the McDonalds on the top of the hill outside Duluth at 7:00 am on Saturday morning, September 16th. The last few miles of the drive were shrouded in a pea soup-like fog. I nearly missed the exit. Trudi, Nancy and Todd had other things to take care of at home so they didn't come up this weekend. After breakfast we drove down to Hawk Harbor where we met our neighbors Deb and Gary Wiederhold, who were staying there during the week. We loaded the banding gear into Rick's truck and headed up to the blind. We expected it to be a rainy day, so we clamped a big tarp on top of the blind that could be pulled down if it rained. The skies were overcast with a little drizzle off and on but not too bad. Winds were light out of the South. We were all set up and ready to start at 9:30.

At 10:05 we saw our first hawk, a young female Sharp-shinned hawk out hunting by the fake owl in the draw. Rick pulled on the lure line and it came in slow and low. At the last second it pulled up, hit the top of the net, threw it off and escaped. Rats!!! Our first bird was a bounce out! Around 10:30 Brynn Johnson and Holly Casey came out to the blind. Brynn has been coming up since she was 15 years old. Right after they got settled in at 10:45 we saw a shin low over the woods to our North. Rick started luring and it made a long gliding stoop with legs hanging down right into the front net. Great! Our first bird of the weekend was an adult female Sharp-shinned hawk. This one had not completed its molt and still retained some of its old feathers. Rick and Chuck took it out of the net, we banded it, took a bunch of photos and Brynn released it. We caught three more shins at 11:04, 12:03 and 1:46. One had a deformed talon that was growing from its left middle toe. We banded the shins, took photos and did the releases. At 2:20 we caught a female Merlin that came shooting in from out near the barn and we caught one more shin at 3:34 that came in from the woods behind us. We closed down for the day at 5:00, just as it started to rain.

Greg Mikkleson was at Hawk Harbor with Deb and Gary when we got back. Everyone else had plans that evening so Rick, Chuck and I drove in to the Subway sandwich shop at Two Harbors for supper. After 80 hot meat sandwiches with mushrooms, fried onions and an extra bowl of gravy, I felt it was time for a little lighter fare. Greg had a nice campfire going when we got back to Hawk Harbor.

We got a total of 6 birds and 1 bounce-out on Saturday.
5 Sharp-shinned hawks and 1 Merlin.

We were back out to the blind around 6:45 Sunday morning and got everything set up by 7:10. The skies were still cloudy from the rain the night before and the wind was light out of the West.  A lot of American Kestrels were moving through and so were a few Northern Harriers. We saw our first shin out hunting low over the pines to the North of us. Rick did some luring and at 8:04, it came right in. at 8:27 we spotted another shin out over the pines, pulled for that one and it too, came right in. It saw the net at the last second, pulled up, hit the net high and got out. That was our first bounce out of the day. As the wind freshened out of the West and the clouds began breaking up, birds started getting up all over.

A little while later, Bill Tefft from Ely brought three other people up to see us. Bill has been coming out to our blind leading various groups for over ten years. He apologized for not calling ahead, but they were up for the Hawk Ridge Big Weekend and thought they would stop by to see if we were having any luck. Kyle, the young man in the group, was extremely interested in raptors so we gave them the grand tour of our set up. We took some photos and had Kyle release a shin. After that, I gave him an art print, a bookmark and a raptor identification sheet.

While Bill and his group were leaving, Stan Tekiela (the world renowned wildlife photographer and guide book author) and a group of 14 people pulled up in his bus from the Staring Lake Nature Center. Stan also has been a regular at the blind for over ten years and a lot of the people in his group had been up before. I joined them down at the road and started telling them of our 48-year history of banding hawks in this hayfield. I also gave them a little migration information as we walked back up to the blind. We explained how the nets work and how we band the hawks and then put as many people as would fit in the blind and settled the rest in the overflow area. Stan sure picked the right day to come up, as we had birds bombing in left and right! We missed about 20 birds while everyone was out doing releases, but one shin flew right in past everyone out in front of the blind and got caught. We caught 7 shins, 1 American Kestrel, 1 Merlin, and 1 Red-tailed hawk and had three bounce outs, all before the group left for lunch and Hawk Ridge.

Right after Stan's group left, we had a Red-tailed hawk bounce out. Tons of hawks were flying over and we started banding them as fast as we could catch them. We caught 22 more shins and had 4 more bounce outs, that included one Merlin, before we closed down for the weekend at 4:30. Just before we caught our last 2 shins and things were beginning to slow down, Don Mattson stopped in. Don and his father Roy own the hayfield that we have banded hawks in for 48 years. We can't thank them enough for all the great experiences we have had and shared with so many others over these many years.

We got a total of 32 birds and 9 bounce outs on Sunday.
29 Sharp-shinned hawks, 1 Red-tailed hawk, 1 Merlin and 1 American Kestrel.

Total for the weekend was 38 birds and 10 bounce-outs.
34 Sharp-shinned hawks, 1 Red-tailed hawk, 2 Merlins and 1 American Kestrel.

Remember also, to go to You Tube and search Frank Taylor Films or click on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4sdI11-TvxPaQ5nO3PsKKA and then scroll to View All.

Please help hawks by supporting:
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (www.hawkridge.org)
The Raptor Center (www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu)
The National Eagle Center (www.nationaleaglecenter.org)

Keep your eyes on the skies.

Frank & Trudi Taylor


01. First bird of the day, an adult Sharp-shinned hawk.
Third Weekend 2017


02. Rick and Chuck pulling the shin out of the net.
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03. Rick and Chuck showing the shin to Brynn and Holly.
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04. This shin did not have a complete molt.
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05. An adult Sharp-shinned hawk.
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06. Holly and Brynn with the shin.
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07. Brynn releasing the shin.
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08. A young female Sharp-shinned hawk.
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09. Frank, Holly, Chuck, Brynn and Rick with a shin.
Third Weekend 2017


10. An adult Sharp-shinned hawk.
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11. An adult Sharp-shinned hawk with a bad talon.
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12. The talon on this bird's left middle toe was deformed.
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13. The talon was bent in such a way as to suggest what the shin's feelings might be about being banded.
Third Weekend 2017


14. Holly about to release the shin.
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15. Holly releasing the Sharp-shinned hawk.
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16. A female Merlin.
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17. A female Merlin.
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18. Rick, Holly, Frank, Brynn and Chuck with the Merlin.
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19. Sunday morning view looking North out of the blind.
Third Weekend 2017


20. Watching the Sunday morning sunrise from the blind.
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21. A female Kestrel.
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22. A female Kestrel.
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23. A female Kestrel.
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24. A female Merlin.
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25. A female Merlin.
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26. A back view of the Merlin.
Third Weekend 2017


27. Giving handouts to Bill Tefft's group.
Third Weekend 2017


28. A young Sharp-shinned hawk on Sunday morning.
Third Weekend 2017


29. Ann, Nancy, Bill and Kyle about to release the shin.
Third Weekend 2017


30. Ann, Nancy and Kyle releasing the shin.
Third Weekend 2017


31. Giving my migration talk to Stan's group.
Third Weekend 2017


32. A young Red-tailed hawk.
Third Weekend 2017


33. Chuck showing us the back of the Red-tailed hawk.
Third Weekend 2017


34. John, Rick, Pat, Marcel, Bethany, John, Bev, Christine, Brandon, Roberta, Leonid, Chuck, Victoria, Steve, Sunny, Jill, Stan and Frank holding the Red-tailed hawk.
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35. A young Red-tailed hawk.
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36. Leonid and Victoria about to release the Red-tailed hawk.
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37. Victoria releasing the Red-tailed hawk.
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38. Frank and Chuck showing the group the Merlin and the American Kestrel.
Third Weekend 2017


39. A comparison of the Merlin and American Kestrel.
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40. A female Merlin.
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41. Steve and Sunny about to release the Merlin.
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42. Steve and Sunny releasing the Merlin.
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43. A female American Kestrel.
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44. John and Pat about to release the Kestrel.
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45. John and Pat releasing the Kestrel.
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46. A young female Sharp-shinned hawk.
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47. John and Bev about to release the shin.
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48. John and Bev releasing the shin.
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49. Brandon and Christine about to release another shin.
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50. Brandon and Christine releasing a shin.
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51. Marcel and Bethany about to release another shin.
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52. Marcel and Bethany releasing the shin.
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53. An adult Sharp-shinned hawk.
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54. Jill about to release an adult Sharp-shinned hawk.
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55. Jill releasing the Sharp-shinned hawk.
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56. Victoria and Leonid about to release another Sharp-shinned hawk.
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57. Victoria and Leonid releasing the Sharp-shinned hawk.
Third Weekend 2017


58. Frank handing out art prints, bookmarks and raptor identification sheets just before the group left.
Third Weekend 2017


59. Kettles of Broad-winged hawks going over.
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60. Frank, Rick, Don and Chuck with Sharp-shinned hawks.
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61. Don about to release one of the shins.
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62. Don releasing a shin.
Third Weekend 2017