Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sprague's Pipit

Mule Deer Antler Retention

A couple of days ago I noticed this Mule Deer buck along the way into work. He was with a group of about 10 bucks, all in velvet, but this one stood out. He hadn't shed his left antler this spring. I didn't have my camera then so this morning I went to see if I could get some photos where he has been hanging out.

I found him and another buck at the same area and managed to get a few photos. I was speculation on why he might have retained the antler, but couldn't come up with anything that would explain why an apparently healthy deer would keep an antler like this.

After I got home and looked closer at the photos I could see the the deer was also blind in the left eye. I suspect the deer sustained an injury to the left side of his head (perhaps a vehicle collision since this group of bucks hangs out next to a relatively well traveled highway). He is also growing in a new antler that appears to be trying to form from under the old antler at the antler pedicle.

Other than the blind eye and retained antler, the deer appears to be quite healthy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Common Nighthawks

Last Saturday we were banding birds at our study area in a rather narrow riparian area surrounded by native prairie. About mid-morning the skies above the riparian area were filled with Common Nighthawks foraging about 60 feet above the ground. They appeared to be concentrating on insects flying just above the canopy of the green ash trees but the would occasionally venture out over the open grassland near was standing and where I was able to get a clear view of the birds as they flew by.

These are one of the last species to arrive in the spring and the first to leave in the fall. Despite being so common in the area, we have yet to catch one in the nets, which is really not surprising given where they spend their time and where are nets are.
We did catch one rather exciting bird last Saturday. It was a House Wren that was one of the most tangled birds I have dealt with in a long time. The exciting part was that is was our first recapture of a bird from our initial banding effort in the area two years ago.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More photos

Long-eared Owl

I am going to break back into getting some posts on here with a rather quick one. If any one is interested in viewing more photos from me or my Dad, we have created a gallery at PBase. The address is:

The photos are arranged in different galleries. Photo titles with four dots on both ends of the text are galleries and if you click on the photos, they will lead to more photos in that gallery.