Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Weekend of Banding 2014

August 30th, 2014

Hi All,

Here it is my first report of the 2014 banding season covering the weekend of August 30, 2014.

Since my last report in November of 2013, we have had another interesting year.

Trudi and I took several courses on video production at out local public access station in November. We managed to produce a nice music video program that included Trudi singing Christmas songs over a montage of her photographs of the White Bear Lake area in winter. You can view it at

In December, I started a good hunting season with Mim. Rabbits were scarce, but we managed to get a couple. In January, Trudi's Mom passed away. She was 94 years old and played piano concerts for her fellow senior home residents right up until a week before she passed. Last March, Trudi and I took a wonderful trip to San Francisco and Northern California to visit her sister Hedi. What a beautiful area!

Mid-August, members of the Minnesota Falconers Association and I did our 33rd annual Game Fair in Ramsey, Minnesota. This was Mim’s 9th year out there. The weather was very nice for the second year in a row and we had a lot of old hands and new falconers with a lot of birds come out to help.

On August 29th, I retired from my job of thirteen years as a driver for Rise Inc. I have really enjoyed my job with Rise and will continue to do part-time work for them, but am also looking forward to the extra time I will have for banding, falconry, model trains, sailing, and art.

It was in September of 1970 that I first asked Mr. Mattson if we could use his hayfield to “see if we could catch a couple hawks”. After catching over 3,000 of those hawks and forty-five years later, we are still going strong.

Trudi and I made several trips up to our land over the summer to keep the accelerated vegetation growth from turning our campsite into a veritable jungle. We also set up an additional camping trailer, a kestrel box, and a new heavy-duty picnic table. The newest (old) trailer on our land came gratis our son Tony. Now that so many derelict hawkers' trailers have found a permanent home on "our land", we thought we might "class up the place" with a fancy name. Instead of calling our place "the land" or "our campsite" we will now be calling it by a name that Trudi thought up. Henceforth, the Taylor land/campsite will be referred to as "Hawk Harbor". We will be erecting a very artful sign with that name in the near future.

To add to the classy ambiance, we have again, through the generosity of Chuck and Nancy, commissioned an elegant new royal blue and regal white Port-a-potty. The tactical placement of this commode has taken into consideration the prevailing winds and their relevance to our banding success. Consequently, days at Hawk Harbor without northwest winds may indeed, literally, "stink".

We are thankful to Bob Crosbie again this year for providing us with a vigorous team of healthy pigeons. Jeff Steadman has also loaned us three pigeons of a much smaller species to try out. As usual, we will do our best to bring them all through to a safe and healthy end of the banding season.

Saturday morning, August 30th, Chuck met Trudi and me at Hawk Harbor around 10:30 am. Todd had come up the day before and was already set up. Nancy and Ricko had commitments at home and couldn't be there for the opening weekend. With weed whips in hand, we headed up to open the blind. It took several hours for us to cut the grass, clean out the blind, put up the poles, and string the nets. We started banding at 2:30 pm. The wind was light out of the northeast under cloudy skies. Around 3:00 pm, Marc and Jackie Rude stopped by to see how we were doing. Although we saw a lot of harriers, shins, turkey vultures, and one fast merlin, we did not get anything that day. We did, however, manage to coin two new names for landmarks to add to our already confusing monikers. Marc said that he thought the "Sticky-up Tree" over by the "Garage" (that you can't see any more) was the "Floofy Bush". We immediately pointed out to him that the "Floofy Bush" was really farther over to the left, nearer to the "Flat-top Pine". Adding to the new "Sticky-up Tree" landmark, we now have "The Lake Pines" which are just to the left of "The Farm Pines Left".

Having gotten our first Skunked Day out of the way, we all packed up and headed over to Emily's Lighthouse Restaurant for supper. And of course, I ordered my first of the year and my overall 62nd hot meatloaf sandwich with fried onions, mushrooms and an extra bowl of gravy. Marc ordered one too and after dinner, he and Jackie drove back to their house. When the rest of us returned to Hawk Harbor, Todd had a nice campfire going, but the threat of rain caused us all to turn in early.

We got a total of 0 birds and no bounce-outs on Saturday.
First Skunked Day of the year!!!

Sunday morning, Chuck, Trudi and I began trapping at 7:30 am at the main blind, and Todd set up at Hawk Harbor. The winds were light out of the east-southeast with cloudy skies and threatening rain. In spite of the bad weather and winds, we started to see some birds moving. At 9:45 am, Todd got our first bird of the year, a young Broad-winged hawk. He also caught the only other bird that day, a young female Sharp-shinned hawk, at 10:48 am. In between drenching showers, some so severe that we had to pull a tarp over the entire blind, we managed to have two shins come in, but both bounced out. At 2:30 pm, we watched a young female Peregrine hunting the field, but it didn't see us. Due to the rain and wet conditions, we decided to close down early at 4:00 pm. Afterwards, Trudi, Chuck and I headed to the Pizza Hut in Two Harbors for some of their excellent spaghetti dinners, but were disappointed to see they were no longer in business. We headed to Culvers for supper instead.  When we got back to Hawk Harbor, the skies opened up, and it rained constantly all night until early morning.

We got a total of 2 birds and 2 bounce outs on Sunday.
1 Broad-winged hawk and 1 Sharp-shinned hawk.

Monday morning, it was still drizzling a little, so Trudi and I headed into Judy's Cafe in Two Harbors for a hot breakfast while Chuck and Todd slept in. We started banding at 9:30 am, when the skies had cleared up a bit and the wind was coming light out of the northwest. Birds started moving and we saw lots of Broad-wings, Bald eagles and Northern Harriers, with some Sharp-shinned hawks and Ospreys. At about 10:10 am, we saw a larger accipiter make a dash at a small bird north of us, and a short while later, at 10:12 am, a young, male Cooper's hawk popped up in the draw out in front of us and came straight in.  With continuing threats of rain, we closed down for the weekend at noon. Due to the sogginess of the field from all the rain and the fact that the field has not been hayed this year, I didn't dare drive the van up to the blind to pack the gear out. Instead, we devised a drag made from a large tarp, placed the gear on it, and tugged it all down to the van.

We got a total of 1 bird and no bounce-outs on Monday.
1 Cooper's hawk.

Total for the weekend was 3 birds and 2 bounce-outs.
1 Broad-winged hawk, 1 Sharp-shinned hawk and 1 Cooper's hawk.

Grand Total for the year is 3.

Please help hawks by supporting:
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (
The Raptor Center (
The National Eagle Center (

If you would like, you can friend me on Facebook.

Keep your eyes on the skies.

Frank & Trudi Taylor

01. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton with Mim and me at the 2014 Anoka Game Fair.
First Weekend 2014.

02. Marc, Jackie, me, Trudi and Chuck having supper at Emily's Lighthouse Restaurant.
First Weekend 2014.

03. Our first bird of the year, a young Broad-winged hawk in a "Profile" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

04. A young Broad-winged hawk doing the "Coming In" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

05. Todd holding the Broad-winged hawk that he caught.
First Weekend 2014.

06. Banding the Broad-wing.
First Weekend 2014.

07. Trudi and Chuck holding the Broad-winged hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

08. Back side of the Broad-winged hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

09. Broad-winged hawk waving "Good-by".
First Weekend 2014.

10. A young female Sharp-shinned hawk doing the "Coming In" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

11. "Profile" pose of a young female Sharp-shinned hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

12. A young female Sharp-shinned hawk doing the "Yearbook" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

13. Chuck and I holding up the Sharp-shinned hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

14. Young male Cooper's hawk doing the "Coming In" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

15. Young male Cooper's hawk doing the "Hollywood" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

16. Young male Cooper's hawk in hand.
First Weekend 2014.

17. Banding the young male Cooper's hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

18. Trudi and Chuck holding the Cooper's hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

19. "Profile" pose of the young male Cooper's hawk.
First Weekend 2014.

20. Young male Cooper's hawk doing the "Are You Lookin' at Me" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

21. Young male Cooper's hawk in the "Yearbook" pose.
First Weekend 2014.

22. Chuck and I dragging the gear down to the van.
First Weekend 2014.

23. Me, Jeff and Chuck down at the van.
First Weekend 2014.

24. Trudi enjoying our new "heavy-duty" picnic table.
First Weekend 2014.

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