Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mucho Flamencos!

In my first post from Spain (Our First Days back in España) I mentioned that we participated in Flamingo Banding our first weekend here. Alejandro graciously provided me photos that he had taken at the event. Here’s a view into some of the action we experienced.

The photos begin just after sunrise after the flamingo chicks “Pollos” were rounded up from the salt lagoon and into the holding pens.

Approximately 1000 Flamingo “Pollos” and a couple adults, Laguna de Fuenta de Piedra, Spain.

Approximately 1000 Flamingo “Pollos” and a couple adults, Laguna de Fuenta de Piedra, Spain.

My role in the project was to measure the bill of 100 flamingo chicks for team 1 (Dark Blue).

Rob (me) measuring the Pico (bill) of the Pollo (chick), Laguna de Fuenta de Piedra, Spain.

Emmy’s role was to prepare the Pollos for weighing (Team Light-blue).

Flamingo Pollo after banding, Laguna de Fuenta de Piedra, Spain.

Part of Team Migres: Karyn, Emmy and Beatriz, Laguna de Fuenta de Piedra, Spain.

Team Migres: Manuel, Beatriz, Carlos, Rob (me), Karyn, Emmy, Rachelle, Alejandro.

After each of the six teams had each banded one hundred birds, the remainder of the flamingos were set free unbanded. They marched out of the pen and back to the lagoon.

Unbanded flamingo pollos heading back to the lagoon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our First Days back in España

I have the honor and good fortune to once again be selected by the Intermountain Bird Observatory to represent them in Spain as part of a joint research collaboration between IBO and Migres Fundación, which has been going on for a number of years. Last year I travelled to Tarifa, Spain for two weeks as part of this collaboration (last year’s blog posts: Migration on an Unimaginable Scale, Into the Cage–Banding Milano Negro in Spain, Studying the Smaller Avifauna of Tarifa, and The Non-avian Fauna of Tarifa). This year, I will spend two months here, and Karyn got to come as well! Sharing our apartment with us, and also representing Boise State University and the Intermountain Bird Observatory, is Emmy, my goshawk field assistant from 2012.

View of Africa (center in the distance being touch be the cloud) from the deck of our apartment in Spain!

We will spend a lot of our time here in the field studying birds and counting migrating raptors, but I am also working on a collaborative project using the data collected here in Tarifa. My analysis will use aspects and approaches which I have used in the two weather/climate change publications I have completed for the Intermountain Bird Observatory (My Publications).

The early portion of our trip was quite a whirlwind. We spent over 20 hours getting to Malaga, Spain by air, followed by a two hour car ride to Pelayo to check into our apartment. We were quickly swept into a three hour training course on the identification and counting of migrating raptors here at the Strait of Gibraltar. The training was excellent and kept us engaged enough to stay awake (mostly…).

We awoke our first morning ready to count thousands of raptors from western Europe making their way down through Spain to cross the 14 km (10 mile) stretch of water known as Estrecho de Gibraltar (Strait of Gibraltar) to Africa. However, the wind had a different plan. The wind was from the east and very strong (Beaufort 7 or approximately 31-38 mph). For most species if they tried to cross in these winds, they would end up far into the Atlantic. In other words, they would drown. The count was cancelled for the day, but the fun was not.

Our gracious host Alejandro took the three of us and two other Migres collaborators on a tour. We visited the count site to feel what a Biento de Levante (name of the strong east wind) feels like. It was indeed difficult to stand up and there were no birds to be seen. It was a wise choice to cancel the count for the day. We stopped by the visitors center to see an amiga of mine, Nieves (I didn’t forget!). We then traveled north to Punta Bolonia (Point Bolonia) to visit a Roman ruin – Baelo Claudia. This area was a major source of tuna for the Roman Empire along with Garum, a fermented sauce made from the blood of the tuna.

Roman Aquaduct, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Tuna Curing Boxes, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Garum Fermentation Pots, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

The Basilica, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

After leaving the ruins we headed up to a Griffon Vulture nesting site where we observed an adult feeding a nestling.

Griffon Vulture Nest, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Continuing our tour we visited a breeding colony of the critically endangered Bald Ibis. There was only one nest with nestlings still in the nest. These birds occupied the site on their own after being re-introduced elsewhere in the area. The colony hangs right over a busy road, but is one of the more successful breeding sites for this species. The only truly wild population of Bald Ibis still in existence is in Morocco, but it has declined significantly in recent years.

Two Bald Ibis Nestlings, North of Punta Bolonia, Spain.

After leaving the breeding colony, we headed to a local golf course where the adult Ibis’ are known forage. Sure enough, right there on the driving range were a group of adult Bald Ibis.

Adult Bald Ibis, Golf Course, North of Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Then it was on to Laguna de la Janda. La Janda used to be the largest wetland in Europe until it was drained in the 1960’s. It remains a top place in the area to see birds. We had a fun time checking out a few raptors overhead that were willing to take on the wind (Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite, and Common Kestrel), a breeding colony of egrets (Little and Cattle) and Glossy Ibis, flocks of bee-eaters, White Storks, partridges, and many other birds. We were hoping for Spanish Imperial Eagle, but it was not to be.

White Storks, La Janda, Spain.

Cattle Egret on Nest, La Janda, Spain.

Egret Nestling, La Janda, Spain.

The Long-legged Buzzard is a recent arrival from Morocco. They are very similar to the Common Buzzard of Europe, their close relatives, and since their arrival in Spain they have been known to hybridize with the Common Buzzard.  The individual in the photo is difficult to distinguish from this angle, but did show reddish coloration in the tail.

Long-legged Common Buzzard, La Janda, Spain.

Endemic Dragonfly, La Janda, Spain.

On day three, we finally had to settle in, go shopping food, clean the apartment, and find our way around town. Still feeling the effects of our travels and the eight hour change in time zones, it was a welcome bit of relaxation before the big weekend of adventure ahead.

Flamencos!!!

After a half day of raptor counting at Cazalla  (count site closest to Tarifa), and a visit from my local British friend Eddy the Eagle, we were off for the biggest adventure of the trip so far – to band (or ring) flamingos in the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. Over 300 ornithologists and volunteers from across Europe descended on this small town for the 25th anniversary of the flamingo banding. We had signed up and sent in our credentials weeks ago. It was finally time. After a three hour drive we arrived just in time for the orientation meeting.

Those people able to make it inside to the orientation meeting.

This project takes a huge amount of organization and each person is assigned specific jobs. Over 300 people with specific job assignments! The orientation was of course in Spanish which presented its own challenges for me. My take away – don’t drive into the lake and follow the instructions of your team leader. If there were other important items, they were lost in translation…

My credentials show that I was on team 1 (of five) for the herding and capture of the birds, and team 1 (of six) for the banding. Specifically I was assigned to measure the bill (Medida Pico) of each of the flamingos banded by team one (blue team).

After general orientation, and then role specific orientation, we were off to find a place to stay. There were no places to be found… We went to dinner instead. It was great! At 12:30am, we decided to go to the city park and lay down before reporting to work at 4:15am!

There were a few benches in the van available and Karyn took one of those. I chose this comfy bench in the park! It is amazing how much noise there is in a city park – cars, dogs, 10 other people in the park, fighting cats, etc. It is the first time I have slept on a bench in a park, but probably not the last! In all, I got less than one hour of sleep.

My bed for the hour that I actually got to sleep.

We reported to breakfast at 4:15am, staged with our capture team at 5:00am, and headed into the lagoon at 5:15am. It was dark, wet, muddy, and very slippery. The water was low this year, only about 10cm deep. Once we had the colony surrounded, we waited standing in the water until sunrise. We then started closing in. We funneled over a thousand young flamingos into the pen. We then split into our banding teams (color coded tee-shirts) and started the banding process. Sorry, I did not take a camera due to the high likelihood it would end up in the muck. I may get some photos later for posting.

Each of the six teams would band 100 birds. There were other general teams that worked in support. The corral team would hand the birds out to the holders. The holders would hold each bird while the metal bander for each team attached the metal band and the color bander attached the color band. The bird was then held while the measurement team went to work. My job was to measure the bill for each of the 100 birds our team processed. Another measurer checked the wing and tarsus lengths. The bird was then passed on to the corsetters (Karyn and Emmy had this role) who put the bird in a sling to be weighed. The weigher weighed the birds and then they were passed to the DNA team, before being released. There was a general veterinarian team to check on any birds which presented injuries or behavioral issues. It was an amazing operation. 600 birds were banded before 9:30am! The remaining birds were released as they only band 600 per year.

It was a fantastic experience and adventure, operated by a highly professional team. I was ecstatic to be a part of it. Then lunch and the 3 hour ride home, fading from the lack of sleep. Which brings me to a beer in the local bar for wifi to post this report. Tomorrow we head back to counting raptors at Cazalla. This next week we hope to band Barn Swallows and take a whae watching tour. I’ll keep you posted.

Our First Days back in España

I have the honor and good fortune to once again be selected by the Intermountain Bird Observatory to represent them in Spain as part of a joint research collaboration between IBO and Migres Fundación, which has been going on for a number of years. Last year I travelled to Tarifa, Spain for two weeks as part of this collaboration (last year’s blog posts: Migration on an Unimaginable Scale, Into the Cage–Banding Milano Negro in Spain, Studying the Smaller Avifauna of Tarifa, and The Non-avian Fauna of Tarifa). This year, I will spend two months here, and Karyn got to come as well! Sharing our apartment with us, and also representing Boise State University and the Intermountain Bird Observatory, is Emmy, my goshawk field assistant from 2012.

View of Africa (center in the distance being touch be the cloud) from the deck of our apartment in Spain!

We will spend a lot of our time here in the field studying birds and counting migrating raptors, but I am also working on a collaborative project using the data collected here in Tarifa. My analysis will use aspects and approaches which I have used in the two weather/climate change publications I have completed for the Intermountain Bird Observatory (My Publications).

The early portion of our trip was quite a whirlwind. We spent over 20 hours getting to Malaga, Spain by air, followed by a two hour car ride to Pelayo to check into our apartment. We were quickly swept into a three hour training course on the identification and counting of migrating raptors here at the Strait of Gibraltar. The training was excellent and kept us engaged enough to stay awake (mostly…).

We awoke our first morning ready to count thousands of raptors from western Europe making their way down through Spain to cross the 14 km (10 mile) stretch of water known as Estrecho de Gibraltar (Strait of Gibraltar) to Africa. However, the wind had a different plan. The wind was from the east and very strong (Beaufort 7 or approximately 31-38 mph). For most species if they tried to cross in these winds, they would end up far into the Atlantic. In other words, they would drown. The count was cancelled for the day, but the fun was not.

Our gracious host Alejandro took the three of us and two other Migres collaborators on a tour. We visited the count site to feel what a Biento de Levante (name of the strong east wind) feels like. It was indeed difficult to stand up and there were no birds to be seen. It was a wise choice to cancel the count for the day. We stopped by the visitors center to see an amiga of mine, Nieves (I didn’t forget!). We then traveled north to Punta Bolonia (Point Bolonia) to visit a Roman ruin – Baelo Claudia. This area was a major source of tuna for the Roman Empire along with Garum, a fermented sauce made from the blood of the tuna.

Roman Aquaduct, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Tuna Curing Boxes, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Garum Fermentation Pots, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

The Basilica, Baelo Claudia, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

After leaving the ruins we headed up to a Griffon Vulture nesting site where we observed an adult feeding a nestling.

Griffon Vulture Nest, Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Continuing our tour we visited a breeding colony of the critically endangered Bald Ibis. There was only one nest with nestlings still in the nest. These birds occupied the site on their own after being re-introduced elsewhere in the area. The colony hangs right over a busy road, but is one of the more successful breeding sites for this species. The only truly wild population of Bald Ibis still in existence is in Morocco, but it has declined significantly in recent years.

Two Bald Ibis Nestlings, North of Punta Bolonia, Spain.

After leaving the breeding colony, we headed to a local golf course where the adult Ibis’ are known forage. Sure enough, right there on the driving range were a group of adult Bald Ibis.

Adult Bald Ibis, Golf Course, North of Punta Bolonia, Spain.

Then it was on to Laguna de la Janda. La Janda used to be the largest wetland in Europe until it was drained in the 1960’s. It remains a top place in the area to see birds. We had a fun time checking out a few raptors overhead that were willing to take on the wind (Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite, and Common Kestrel), a breeding colony of egrets (Little and Cattle) and Glossy Ibis, flocks of bee-eaters, White Storks, partridges, and many other birds. We were hoping for Spanish Imperial Eagle, but it was not to be.

White Storks, La Janda, Spain.

Cattle Egret on Nest, La Janda, Spain.

Egret Nestling, La Janda, Spain.

The Long-legged Buzzard is a recent arrival from Morocco. They are very similar to the Common Buzzard of Europe, their close relatives, and since their arrival in Spain they have been known to hybridize with the Common Buzzard.  The individual in the photo is difficult to distinguish from this angle, but did show reddish coloration in the tail.

Long-legged Buzzard, La Janda, Spain.

Endemic Dragonfly, La Janda, Spain.

On day three, we finally had to settle in, go shopping food, clean the apartment, and find our way around town. Still feeling the effects of our travels and the eight hour change in time zones, it was a welcome bit of relaxation before the big weekend of adventure ahead.

Flamencos!!!

After a half day of raptor counting at Cazalla  (count site closest to Tarifa), and a visit from my local British friend Eddy the Eagle, we were off for the biggest adventure of the trip so far – to band (or ring) flamingos in the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. Over 300 ornithologists and volunteers from across Europe descended on this small town for the 25th anniversary of the flamingo banding. We had signed up and sent in our credentials weeks ago. It was finally time. After a three hour drive we arrived just in time for the orientation meeting.

Those people able to make it inside to the orientation meeting.

This project takes a huge amount of organization and each person is assigned specific jobs. Over 300 people with specific job assignments! The orientation was of course in Spanish which presented its own challenges for me. My take away – don’t drive into the lake and follow the instructions of your team leader. If there were other important items, they were lost in translation…

My credentials show that I was on team 1 (of five) for the herding and capture of the birds, and team 1 (of six) for the banding. Specifically I was assigned to measure the bill (Medida Pico) of each of the flamingos banded by team one (blue team).

After general orientation, and then role specific orientation, we were off to find a place to stay. There were no places to be found… We went to dinner instead. It was great! At 12:30am, we decided to go to the city park and lay down before reporting to work at 4:15am!

There were a few benches in the van available and Karyn took one of those. I chose this comfy bench in the park! It is amazing how much noise there is in a city park – cars, dogs, 10 other people in the park, fighting cats, etc. It is the first time I have slept on a bench in a park, but probably not the last! In all, I got less than one hour of sleep.

My bed for the hour that I actually got to sleep.

We reported to breakfast at 4:15am, staged with our capture team at 5:00am, and headed into the lagoon at 5:15am. It was dark, wet, muddy, and very slippery. The water was low this year, only about 10cm deep. Once we had the colony surrounded, we waited standing in the water until sunrise. We then started closing in. We funneled over a thousand young flamingos into the pen. We then split into our banding teams (color coded tee-shirts) and started the banding process. Sorry, I did not take a camera due to the high likelihood it would end up in the muck. I may get some photos later for posting.

Each of the six teams would band 100 birds. There were other general teams that worked in support. The corral team would hand the birds out to the holders. The holders would hold each bird while the metal bander for each team attached the metal band and the color bander attached the color band. The bird was then held while the measurement team went to work. My job was to measure the bill for each of the 100 birds our team processed. Another measurer checked the wing and tarsus lengths. The bird was then passed on to the corsetters (Karyn and Emmy had this role) who put the bird in a sling to be weighed. The weigher weighed the birds and then they were passed to the DNA team, before being released. There was a general veterinarian team to check on any birds which presented injuries or behavioral issues. It was an amazing operation. 600 birds were banded before 9:30am! The remaining birds were released as they only band 600 per year.

It was a fantastic experience and adventure, operated by a highly professional team. I was ecstatic to be a part of it. Then lunch and the 3 hour ride home, fading from the lack of sleep. Which brings me to a beer in the local bar for wifi to post this report. Tomorrow we head back to counting raptors at Cazalla. This next week we hope to band Barn Swallows and take a whae watching tour. I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, July 11, 2014

All of the A’s, C’s, T’s, and G’s! The Transition from the Field to the Lab

My fieldwork on the Northern Goshawk project has come to an end for the year. It was a great five weeks in one of my favorite forests, the Minidoka Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest. My field partner, Steph, and I were very productive finding nine new goshawk territories, most in areas where no previous reports of goshawks have existed. My statistical model for predicting goshawk nesting locations continues to perform very well (Miller et al. 2013, Open Journal of Ecology). For example, on one mountain we found goshawks in five of the seven places we looked. For background and summaries of this year’s work, you can refer to my previous posts: Surveys, Nests, Nestlings, and Adults–All Things Goshawk! (most recent), My Project of the Year – The Northern Goshawk, and The Northern Goshawk in Biogeographical Context (oldest).

Adult Female Northern Goshawk, South Hills,
Minidoka Ranger District, Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho.

Now that the fieldwork is complete, Steph has transitioned into the lab to process and analyze all of the genetic samples that we collected. I begin working on the annual report for the forest service. The report is one of those non-glamorous aspects of the project, but Steph’s genetic work is very exciting. She has already extracted the DNA, amplified the DNA, and sequenced portions of the 28 blood samples that my team and I collected in 2012. She is now processing the 25+ samples that she and I collected this year (along with some help from other project volunteers).

Just yesterday, we received the initial sequences (Mitochondrial DNA) from the 2012 samples. The quality of the result was very good, with a much lower than expected error rate. There is lots of interpretation and analysis work left to do, but here’s what it looks like:

Mitochondrial DNA sequences from Northern Goshawks within the South Hills
of the Sawtooth National Forest collected in 2012.

Each row represents a different bird. For some regions, such as those pictured, we would expect a high degree of similarity between individuals, which is indeed what we see. More distantly related birds would be expected to have greater variation. Steph will not only be looking at the variation within our samples (local genetic diversity), but also comparing these samples with the published results from other areas such as the more contiguous Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast. We hope to measure the degree of genetic mixing that occurs between our northern Great Basin birds and these other populations, specifically populations in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. She has a lot of work left to do before the end of July! She will present her results at the end of July at the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research. Her and I have also received a joint travel grant from the National Science Foundation for us each to attend the Raptor Research Foundation Annual Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas in late September. Steph will present her work at that conference as well.

For me, I am writing the goshawk report for the forest service, trying to get my other projects in line, and preparing for my fast approaching assignment studying raptor migration in Tarifa, Spain. Check back for updates from Europe!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Surveys, Nests, Nestlings, and Adults–All Things Goshawk!

Wow! Two more weeks in the field studying the Northern Goshawk with fantastic friends, findings and results. Here’s a follow up to my previous posts (My Project of the Year – The Northern Goshawk and The Northern Goshawk in Biogeographical Context), with new updates, photos and stories.

Old Acquaintances

I have stated in previous posts that one of the objectives the Intermountain Bird Observatory’s 2014 goshawk season is to establish the degree of linkage between the more “island-like” forests of the northern Great Basin and the more contiguous forests of the Rocky Mountains. We expect to do that using genetic techniques. Our area of focus for this first year of genetic work is the Minidoka Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest. However, our past work of banding and color banding individuals continues to pay off as we relocate these birds.

While surveying for goshawk territories in the Albion mountains, I came upon this female bird with the familiar purple color band. Our team is the only group assigned to use purple color bands on goshawks, so I knew that it was a “friend” of ours. Upon closer inspection, I could read the two digit color band code and identify the bird. This female (Purple Z3) was hatched in the South Hills in 2012 and banded by our team as part of that effort. She now has offspring of her own, likely her first, although some females do breed as sub-adults. 

Female Purple Z3 nesting in the Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Purple color band Z3 clearly visible on her right leg. This is a “Type 1” band with two digit code oriented vertically.

Female Purple Z3 as nestling in 2012 in the South Hills, Idaho.

Female Purple Z3’s 2014 nest with a single nestling, approximately 15 days old, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Learning the Basics

This year my field partner is an undergraduate student from Oberlin College in Ohio, Steph Szarmach. She is in the NSF-funded Research for Undergraduates (REU) program at Boise State University. She has now completed her four weeks in the field and will transition into the lab for the remainder of her time in Boise to work on the genetic analysis of the Northern Goshawk. She plans to measure the genetic diversity of the goshawk within the Minidoka Ranger District and to relate these genetics to the biogeography of other populations. In more simple terms, how related are the northern Great Basin goshawks to the Rocky Mountain populations?

As part of Steph’s field experience, she learned to survey, find nests, age young, trap birds, climb trees, band birds, and draw blood samples from birds, not to mention all of the new laboratory and analysis techniques. Wow, what an experience. Some activities took quite a bit of practice. During our first practice, it took Steph and I nearly two hours to “shoot a line” through a high Aspen tree.

Steph practicing with the throwline used to pull a rope into the tree.

Other activities came more easily. After only 4 practice climbs, Steph successfully climbed into her first raptor nest. This one was into a 40’ Douglas Fir tree in the Sublett Mountains. She would complete two more flawless climbs before our fieldwork was complete.

Steph’s first climb into a real goshawk nest, Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Steph retrieving nestlings from nest for banding and genetic sampling, Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

In other nest stands Steph learned to band both adult and nestling birds, measure and record morphometric attributes and complete the collection of genetic samples.

Steph checking the band size of an adult goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Steph applying USGS band to adult goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Steph measuring the Hallux of an adult goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Steph now transitions into lab to continue processing the 26 blood samples that team goshawk collected in 2012 along with the 24 new samples we collected this past week. Additional samples are being sent in from forest service teams across the state. Steph will process the samples, analyze the results and then present those results at an undergraduate research conference at the end of July. Her and I have also received a joint NSF grant to travel to the Raptor Research Foundation annual conference in Corpus Christi, Texas in Late September. Steph will present her results to an international audience of raptor researchers at that conference. Very exciting stuff!

Unique Adults

Whenever we handle individual birds, we often witness unique aspects which differentiate individuals within the population. Our field guides like to suggest that there is one reference model individual with all others being similar, but variation is very high, just as it is in humans. We had a female bird whose legs were so big, the “standard” band would barely fit. On the final individual we processed, an adult male from the Albion Mountains, Greg noticed that the tail lacked the barring which is common on goshawks.

Rob (me) and Greg with adult male goshawk with all grey tail, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Rob (me) with adult male goshawk with all grey tail, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Unfortunately, not everything we find is as exciting. Most of the adult female birds we processed showed signs of Leucocytozoon infection. Leucocytozoons  are blood parasites related to malaria (Apicomplexans). The IBO team (Michelle Jeffries, Michelle Laskowski, Jay Carlisle, and myself) have a research manuscript in review on this matter. We know the disease pervasive in the area, but these skin lesions suggest that the impact on individuals is far from minimal.

Skin lesions on adult female goshawk indicative of Leucocytozoon infection, South Hills, Idaho.

The Birds

You just can’t have too many goshawk photos!

Steph and Rob (me) with an adult specimen of one of the greatest birds on the planet, the Northern Goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Two recent goshawk fledglings, approximately 40-42 days old in the Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Adult goshawk, Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Northern Goshawk weapons of flesh destruction, South Hills, Idaho.

Adult Goshawk, South Hills, Idaho. Dark red eyes suggestive of an older bird.

Adult Goshawk, Albion Mountains, Idaho. Orange eyes suggestive of a younger bird, but at least two years old (adult plumage instead of juvenile plumage).

Rob (me) with the final bird banded in the 2014 season, an adult male, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Team Goshawk 2014

Here I am, the fearless leader of Team Goshawk, ready for action! South Hills, Idaho.

Steph Szarmach, Field Technician and Genetic Analyst displaying a hole in her climbing jacket resulting from an adult goshawk attack! Yes, the bird penetrated her skin as well! Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Greg Kaltenecker, IBO Executive Director applying a hood to an adult goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Dusty Perkins, volunteer, genetics mentor, and tree climbing mentor preparing to climb, Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Austin Young, volunteer, with Northern Goshawk nestling, Sublett Mountains, Idaho.

Michelle Jeffries, volunteer and fellow goshawk researcher with adult female goshawk, South Hills, Idaho.

Michelle Jeffries with four other visiting Boise State REU students – Patrick (studies Northern Harriers), Rachel (studies Harpy Eagles), Sara (studies Burrowing Owls), and Jarod (studies Burrowing Owls).

Skyler, another visiting Boise State REU student (studies Burrowing Owls).

Leroy, raptor expert, one of my mentors and project volunteer, along with Steph and Greg, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

It’s not a bird, but come on, that’s cute!

Steph and I would each see more than 10 Moose!

Moose calf, Albion Mountains, Idaho.

Cow and calf Moose, Albion Mountains, Idaho.