Posted by: atowhee | June 13, 2010

Working the Nets

Malheur mist-netting.  As close to the bird as the wing feathers.

The second picture from top is female Yellow-headed Blackbird, taken by birder Bob Chilvers from Marin County.

Then a sequence of Barn Swallow pics.  Those perfected wings are capable of incredible speed, maneuverability and durability.  These are birds that may migrate thousands of miles, and then forage for  hours on the wing.

Nest three pictures of a female California Quail.

We learned from ornithologist Duncan Evered that dark coloring in feathers is a strengthening agent. Thus pale birds like gulls, White Pelicans and Snow Geese have black wing tips so those feathers that get the most air resistance wear better.

Birds’ pluamge grows in rows, and is not evenly distributed.  In Spring the females showed brood patches, bare skin on the breast where they can nestle over eggs and convey body heat directly without any feathers in the way.  Obvious from watching wintering birds: feathers can be great insulation, as well as water proof.  The oil glad for water proofing is at the base of the tail.

There’ll be further mis-netting images from our session at Malheur Field Station in future posts.

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