Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sandia Crest - Rosy-Finches - 2

Sandia Crest east of Albuquerque is one of two must visit winter sites in New Mexico. (The other is Bosque del Apache; I am still processing photos from Bosque, but will be posting some soon).

We drove to the summit (10,600 ft) on a Sunday morning. Only problem was that we arrived too early. The lodge did not open until 10am, so we had to spend about 20 minutes outside watching birds - (life can sometimes be difficult).

During the winter months when the Rosy-Finches are present, the Rosy-Finch Project does bird banding on Sunday, so we had a considerable additional plus to our day.

One of the banding team assesses the health of a Mountain Chickadee ...

Mountain Chickadee
A Brown-capped Rosy-Finch is about to receive a radio transmitter which will enable researchers to track its movements and where it roosts at night ...

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
Birds are not caught in mist-nets, as is typically done when banding songbirds. They are trapped in a manually triggered metal cage. This Black Rosy-Finch has already been banded. Re-trapping banded birds over years helps to determine life span, and within a single season and from year-to-year assess the health of individuals and populations.

Black Rosy-Finch
A banded Brown-capped Rosy-Finch considers whether it can grab a seed from inside the cage and get out before slow human reflexes can trip the trap.

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
Red-breasted Nuthatch wears aluminum jewelry, compliments of the bird banders ...

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Stellar's Jay begs for anthropomorphizing - intelligent, curious, cautious, sassy - but definitely gorgeous ...

Stellar's Jay
Two more photos ... just because ... Black Rosy-Finch ...

Black Rosy-Finch
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch ...

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
 Good Birding!


Laurence Butler said...

It sounds like an amazing experience over there at Sandia Crest. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos with those of us who can't make it right now : )

eileeninmd said...

Great post and I love the Rosy-finches. Wonderful birds and photos. happy Birding!


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