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Posts Tagged ‘USFWS’

View out the window of the puffin blind, with a spotting scope on the right

View out the window of the puffin blind, with a spotting scope on the right

 

Christa assembling a blind

Christa assembling a blind

On Tuesday we finished setting up the last of our six bird blinds on the island. A blind is a structure that is designed so that you can see birds, but they can’t see you. Our blinds are raised 6-10 feet off the ground so that we have a higher vantage point from which we can observe the seabirds on the island without disturbing them or altering their behaviors. Once inside the box-shaped structures, we can open small windows and peer out. As long as we only have one window open at a time, from the birds’ perspective the inside of the blind is dark and they can’t tell that we’re spying on them!

Jordan assembling a blind

Jordan assembling a blind

Collectively, the PMI crew will spend hundreds of hours in these blinds over the summer, gathering valuable data about the birds on Petit Manan—from predation to productivity and from feeding to fledging. Keep checking back as we share our discoveries throughout the season!

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A young Killdeer chick caught on the cobble

Jennie holding an almost fledged Killdeer chick. This little guy could fly about 5 feet at a time!

We have more chicks on Metinic!  Two Killdeer nests have hatched, and our first Spotted sandpiper chicks were found yesterday!  Our first Killdeer nest hatched almost a month ago and the chicks are just about to fledge (begin to fly).  Charlie was able to catch a Killdeer chick while it was still fluffy, and again, a few days ago, when it could almost fly away from him! We never found either nest, but two new young and fluffy Killdeer chicks have now appeared in the tern colony!  Killdeer are a large plover with two black rings around their neck, but these “shorebirds” are not confined to coastlines.  Their breeding range is the northern United States to central Canada and can be found on the coast, on estuaries, and even in fields.  Breeding adults are well known for feigning injury, displaying a “broken” wing to predators.  This tricks a predator into thinking the adult is an easy meal. The Killdeer will lure the predator away from the nest site, and then suddenly fly away when eggs or chicks are safe.

Spotted Sandpiper chick, notice the huge feet! Most shorebird chicks are precocial, up and running right after hatching.

Our first Spotted Sandpiper chicks hatched from a nest that we had not found (we have three nests flagged), and are, we believe, our cutest chicks yet!  We spotted two chicks but we could have been missing some since they are very small and camouflage with the cobble.

Charlie wanted to keep it, but Jennie was a voice of reason...

Spotted Sandpipers bob their tails up and down when they are standing, and the chicks are no exception!It was adorable to watch clementine sized fluff balls bob up and down. Their breeding range is the northern United States up through Canada. They prefer pebble beaches on lakes, streams and seashores as nesting sites. Jennie caught one that was stumbling away from her, ensuring the photo op! Enjoy the pictures!

And soon to come…. Tern chicks! On Thursday we found three eggs with “pips”! Pips are little spider web like cracks on an egg that are caused by a chick poking at the shell with its bill from inside!

A pip in a Arctic Tern egg. This chick wants out!

The chicks have to “pip” in a circle around the eggshell in order to pop the top of the shell off. A chick will continue in a circle until it can finally poke its bill through the eggshell. This is called a window!  After a chick makes a window, it still continues to break the shell in a circle until finally the top pops off! This whole process can take up to four days! We could find our first chick today! Now if only the rain and fog would go away so we can find it…..

~Waiting in anticipation, the Metinic Crew, Jennie and Charlie

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