Friday, January 31, 2020

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Jan 29, 2020: Eastern Bluebird

In Winter Eastern Bluebirds eat large amounts of fruit, including juniper berries, hackberries, sumac, dogwood berries, and honeysuckle.  They may be lucky enough to find some insects.  This male and 4 other bluebirds were found in the small patch of woods between the lakes trail and Dawes Dr (SE corner of the Park). (Wolf. Oesterreich, 1/29/20)

Jan 27, 2020: Trumpeter Swans

Only 93 Trumpeter Swans (65 adults + 28 juveniles) and 1 adult Tundra Swan were present today among the Canada Geese, Mallards, and 2 Green-winged Teal.  This total is much lower than the record high of 199 on the 17th.  There had been one swan that stopped flying off to feed and would remain at the Park.  This bird was found dead on the morning of the 17th and was collected later that afternoon.  The swan was turned over to Marlene Ehresman, of the Iowa Wildlife Center (Ames).  She, in turn, brought the bird to the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to determine the cause.  Apparently the swan had sustained an injury to its left side and, thus, couldn't fly anymore.

So where are the swans that have been present at the Park, but are no longer here?  Here's a possibility:  Yesterday, while conducting a Climate Watch survey for the National Audubon Society, which included Brushy Creek Recreation Area (Webster County), we (Eric Ollie, Karen Hinkle, and I) found over 500 Trumpeter Swans on the ice and along the open water at the lake.  this was the largest concentration of Trumpeter Swans I have ever encountered! (Wolf. Oesterreich, 1/27/20)

Jan 24, 2020: Northern Shrike

Northern Shrikes, along with their cousin, the Loggerhead Shrike, are predatory songbirds.  They feed on small birds, mammals, and insects.  They are also know as "butcherbirds" for their sometime habit of impaling their prey on spines or barbed wire.  Locally, Northern Shrikes are present in late Fall and Winter months and breed in the taiga and tundra areas.  The Loggerhead Shrike breeds in Iowa, although the population has been drastically reduced. (Wolf. Oesterreich, 1/21/20)