Banding station highlights are watching you

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Northern Mockingbird

When we catch a bird at the banding station, we look it over—and the bird eyeballs us right back.

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The pale eyes mean this Bushtit is female.

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One-eye ROYA, pirate mom

[Wrote this back in August and forgot to post it—oops.]

ROYA weighs just 16.1 grams, and her right eye is bloodshot and kept mostly closed.

ROYA

That’s bad, but ROYA is one tough little bird. You would never know that she is one-eyed from watching her: she flies, she forages, and she feeds her chick—who is in his young-fledgling, über-needy stage—nonstop. If she can keep it up for another week, he’ll be able to fend for himself, and she will have successfully raised a brand new junco.

ROYA’s young fledgling

I really wanted to band her fledgling, but while he seemed dopy (he cheeped nonstop, letting us know exactly where he was, and let us get maddeningly almost within arms’ reach of him), he knew when to fly, and he never flew into the net either. ROYA is doing a good job.

What do birds see?

Another great question from James:

When certain birds (not owls) look out at you from their left eye, they can’t see you with their right eye on the other side of its head. So what do birds with eyes on both sides of the head actually see? Two different scenes? Or some sort of panorama distillation?

What does LAGG see?

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