Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share a few fun photos of Wild Turkeys, brought to you by our friends at The Yurt, John Woodyard and Melissa Renfro!

One of their recent arrivals is a leucistic Turkey, below:  


Last, but not least, here's a cool video of a couple of toms duking it out in April:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

All pictures/videos on this post copyright and courtesy of John Woodyard.  Thanks!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gray Vireos: A Coda

Gray Vireo, photo copyright & courtesy of Deb Vogt
Thanks, everyone, for the Gray Vireo emails and all the location info!  (Just so you know – I really use that location information, entering them into one of my databases – next year’s map will be including all of these new sites!) 

I wanted to share a few photos Deb Vogt sent me – in June, she found a pair of Gray Vireos and their nest down in southern Nevada.  She thought they were feeding a fledgling deep in the tree – one parent “cussed her out”, while the other sang.  I hadn’t seen a Gray Vireo nest before, so I was happy to finally get to see a picture, at least!  Thanks, Deb!

Happy birding,

Gray Vireo nest, copyright & courtesy of Deb Vogt

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gray Vireos: A Request To Keep Your Birding Eyes Peeled

An NBC point where Gray Vireos recorded

Gray Vireos are a favorite of mine (though, to be honest, there’s hardly a bird on Nevada’s species list I haven’t said that of, at one time or another!), breeding primarily within pinyon-juniper habitats in Nevada; juniper appears to be particularly important.  They’re also a species of conservation concern within the state, and Nevada supports an estimated 20% of the global population [1].

Another Gray Vireo location
These guys are ones I enjoy mapping, and every year, it seems I generate a “hmmm, let’s see what the data look like this year” map.   This morning, I was going through some data collected in the Pine Nuts earlier in the year, and saw that we have three more Gray Vireo records there.  So you can tell what’s coming next: my thoughts turned vireo-ward!  During the afternoon’s caffeine break, I dove into GIS, played with the data, and churned out the following maps.  The first one is of all our Gray Vireo locations recorded during the Nevada Bird Count (NBC) and Atlas [2] surveys, with confirmed breeding locations broken out.  

And yet another one!
You can see during the Atlas years all of the locations are down south and within the eastern mountains of the state.  During the past 10 or so years of the Nevada Bird Count, we’ve also been accumulating records within central/western Nevada, including along the Nevada/California border, north of the Mojave Desert.  The border locations are mostly from surveys completed during and after 2009.  The second map is of all of our NBC points and Atlas locations, for reference (including incidental locations). 

On to the request:  we don’t yet have confirmed breeding records for these northern/western locations, and I’m particularly interested in confirming the breeding status along the Nevada-California border.  We have probable breeding records in the north/central portion of the state, but the highest evidence we’ve so far recorded for the border mountains is singing and possible pairs.  If you find yourself hanging out in pinyon-juniper in May/June/July, keep your eyes and ears peeled for these guys -- and if you confirm breeding (e.g., carrying nesting material, nests/eggs/nestlings, parents carrying food/fecal sacs, recently-fledged juveniles), please do let me know!  … Then I’ll have a good excuse to make up another map!

Happy birding!

Gray Vireo Atlas and Nevada Bird Count locations, with confirmed breeding
Nevada Breeding Bird Atlas and Nevada Bird Count survey locations, including incidentals

[2]  Floyd et al. 2007.  Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada.  University of Nevada Press, Reno.