Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring has sprung!

      Spring is finally here, and what a perfect time to start up our blog! We will aim to update regularly with the newest information about our conservation efforts and how you can participate!

      The Scioto Audubon Metropark is buzzing! Song sparrows, robins and cardinals are counter-singing from every corner of the park, busy claiming their territories. The osprey pair has settled in nicely, great egrets and tree swallows are back and new migrants appear daily! Within the last few days, trees have started to show a hint of green as their buds emerge. What does this mean? It's time for bird monitoring, including spring banding!

     Banding started April 10th, and we had a great morning!  The day was warm and cloudy, and birds were active! We arrived and started setting up at 7am, and ran until rain forced us to close at 11am. In that short time, we banded 46 birds representing 15 species! Species included a beautiful male yellow-bellied sapsucker,  brown creepers, hermit thrush, brown thrashers, and three northern flickers.
          Northern flickers vary in color depending on whether they are eastern or western birds. Eastern birds are "yellow-shafted" and have yellow under their wings and tails. In the picture above, you can see this yellow, as well as the red crescent on the nape of its neck. Males have a black malar "mustache" region under the eyes. Western birds are "red-shafted", and lack the red patch behind the head. The males have a red mustache. Where the two may mingle, such as in the Rockies and western Midwest, the hybrids can have a lovely salmon orange tinge and intermediate characteristics!

        The bird above is a bit of an enigma, because it has a slight smattering of red feathers in its malar region. Not enough to truly be called a mustache, and they are RED not the black that one would expect! We will be doing a little more research to see if this is a hybrid!

      Did you know Northern flickers are special to the Grange Insurance Audubon Center? When the building was being constructed, the idea was put forth to use a specific bird for inspiration. That bird? You guessed it, the flicker! The browns, blacks, grays and red can be seen reflected in our building materials. So next time you stop by, take a moment to look around with the flicker in mind!

      Banding will continue until the end of May, please stop by! If you are interested in volunteering, please email Anne Balogh at


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