Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Woodcock Banding Journal

May 13, 2015 -- frost overnight, clear blue skies this morning.  Went out with Tom Goltz to the 2 Km Cover, and we ran Fergus, his first attempt at banding.  As we gathered our gear in the parking lot, we could hear a grouse drumming to the east, an auspicious start.  I left the camera in the truck so I could concentrate on controlling Fergus.

Fergus pointed five woodcock and one grouse in about an hour and a half.  The first two woodcock were males, but then he pointed a brooding hen.  After flushing the hen, I grabbed Fergus and tied him to a tree.  I went back to where the hen flushed and crouched down, and in a few moments I spotted a little fuzzy woodcock.  It was within arms reach but didn't flinch.  Tom worked a circle around me, looking for chicks, and then I found two more in short order.  We looked several more minutes for the fourth, but never found it.  Their beaks were 21 mm, so they were two or three days old.  With Tom's help, and Fergus waiting patiently at his tree, I banded the three chicks, and he released them.

On the way out, Fergus pointed a grouse and two more woodcock, the last a chick that could fly. Two weeks old and already flying.  Precocious little birds.  For the season, Tom has banded 37 chicks, two more than his previous all-time high of 35.     

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