Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Turkey Vulture Study

Working with colleagues in Venezuela, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary color-marked more than 350 Turkey Vultures over-wintering in northwestern Venezuela in 2006-2007 and 2008-2009.

The tagged birds are members of the meridionalis, or western North American, subspecies and were tagged to study long-distance migration in the species. The birds are expected to begin migrating back toward their breeding areas in February. Their movements should take them through Central America and Mexico and into the western United States and Canada.

Reports of birds will help Hawk Mountain determine the timing and geography of migration in Turkey Vultures, as well as the breeding areas of the tagged birds. Some of the birds have red tags with white numbers, others have light-blue tags with black numbers.

Please report the date and specific location of your sighting, color and number of the tag, the wing (right or left) to which the tag is attached, and the circumstances of the sighting, including whether or not the bird was alone or in a group of vultures, flying or perched, feeding or roosting, etc. Dead birds also should be reported.

Report sightings to:

Keith Bildstein,
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Acopian Center for Conservation Learning
410 Summer Valley Road
Orwigsburg, PA 17961
1-570-943-3411 ext. 108

All reports will be recognized, and individuals reporting tagged birds will receive summary information about the study. Thank you.

More Info here:


Debbie said...

I heard about this earlier today. Now my question is how you're supposed to catch the darn vulture to get the tag number!

Beverly said...

LOL I don't think you'd want to catch one...they puke on ya if ya get too close!

I think the numbers and contrast of colors are such that they are easily readable when the bird is roosting or flying low...as they regularly do over my yard. That first picture is a tree in my front yard; so I'm used to seeing them up close and personal!

I doubt one could read the tags when the birds are high in the thermals, but otherwise a good pair of binos would do the trick.

How's birding? We've had no snow for so long...mostly all I'm seeing are Siskins, Goldfinches and House Finches...and the three woodpecker types. I hope we get some moisture soon...we're about as dry as Australia!!! Ack

Debbie said...

The birding's been really interesting lately. The rosies had disappeared for a while, but I've had hundreds of them visit the last couple of days. I've got several red crossbills that visit. The pine grosbeak made an appearance the other day. Gray jays have been visiting. I can now confirm that the woodpeckers that seem to visit every day are hairies because I've also had a male downy dropping by -- good for comparison. Regulars are the pine (aka pig) siskins, pygmy nuthatches, mountain chickadees, Stellars jays. I occasionally get a white breasted nuthatch. Cassin's finch are sporadic visitors these days.

We got 8" of really wet springlike snow here yesterday. Quite unusual. I know it's been a dry winter on the front range. I worry about fires this summer because of that. They say that we (the mountains) are ahead on the precip this year, but it's been a strange winter.

Hoping the weather will warm up to at least 40 so that I can put my window mounted birdhouse up. I'm anxious to see if any of the birds take up residence here. Keeping my fingers crossed for those mountain bluebirds.

RuthieJ said...

I'll be visiting my brother in California next weekend and we're planning a day for birding. We'll have to keep our eyes open for tagged vultures.

Beverly said...

That’s good to hear, Debbie…I don’t think we’ve had any precip this entire month; yeah, pretty scary. When I started my blog a year ago this month…I had all the regulars plus Purple and Cassin’s Finches and all three Rosies, too. So far this month I’ve mostly had Am.Goldfinch and the little piggies, as you call the Pine Siskins. LOL

I remember I had all the ‘unusual’ guests whenever it snowed. Well, cross your fingers for us in March. Maybe we'll get some snow and I’ll see them then.

Ruthie, how cool to get to go visit your brother; all three of mine are in California, too. The oldest of the three ‘little’ brothers took me out to some marches there in the Bay Area…I saw some awesome birds; most of which I still couldn’t identify. Course, this was before I started bird watching in earnest!

I know they’re not pretty in the general sense, but I like the vultures. Big birds…yanno? I feel lucky they roost down the street…my constant walking around under them while taking pictures spooked them away from the tree in my front yard. Fine with me, they were a little close, anyway. Ours are apparently better mannered than some…they don’t bother with chewing the rubber off cars. Odd, huh?