Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Day Two -- Success!!

Sunday I wasn't able to get out trapping, but Monday being a holiday, I loaded up the traps, picked up Rick and headed out at first light. We started seeing kestrels immediately.
Our first bird came down to a mouse:

A male with another one of those funky mid-moult tails:

Definitely an older bird so a quick photo and release:

The second bird we found on a lonely, dusty back road eating a grasshopper. He was way up at the top of a tall telephone pole but we made the drop anyway. He buzzed the trap once but landed right above the trap on the telephone wire. It wasn't more than a minute before he dropped straight down and we had him:

Another one with a funky tail! I guess it's just so early in the year that kestrels are usually still moulting at this time? We saw another male that we weren't able to trap whose tail was literally just a stub. I had my doubts as to whether or not he was even a kestrel when we first saw. I kept telling Rick, "It's tail just doesn't look right to be a kestrel." I thought maybe we'd mistaken a meadowlark or starling for a kestrel but as we drove up to get a better look he bumped and sure enough it was just a tail-less kestrel! Crazy.

This boy was TINY!! Another quick photo and a release:

We hit a slow patch for an hour or so but finally hit the jackpot. 3 birds all hanging out together, so we figured it must be a group of young siblings still palling around after fledging. They were pretty jumpy and we had to chase them around for awhile before we finally got a good set. The male came right down to our mouse:

We looked him over and sure enough, he appeared to be a passage (first year) bird. A full tail, streaked breast, barring all the way up between his shoulders, exactly what I wanted! We rushed back to Rick's house and put equipment on him, 111g with jesses and a hood. He cast later in the day and after several mutes ended up right around 98g. He's a tiny little guy but I think he'll do well.
Introducing Hayduke:

Looking forward to a great season with him!


Doug said...

Awesome! I never get bored of how gorgeous these little guys are. Keep us posted on the training (I know you will).


steveo_uk said...

he looks awesome, congrats on your new partner

Mom N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Mullenix said...

What a beauty! Good luck!!

Mom N said...

So here's what Wikipedia says about his name...

"[Edward Abbey's Hayduke is a codification of the wants, longings, and desires of the average male environmentalist awash in the frustrations of corporate greed and corruption..."

Perfect. Plus of course I love the literary allusion. Rock on--or I should say "Hawk on"...

Ryan said...

Another way to tell passage male kestrels is by the tips of its tail. Often the tip is beige-ish in the passage birds. I assume this is because they are cavity nesters and the their tails are stained by sitting in the nest cavity for the first month of life. Hags tails are usually pure white. Your's look to fit that discription. Great looking bird and good luck.


Isaac said...

Thanks Ryan! Seems the consensus is "passage". Exactly what I wanted.