Friday, September 25, 2009

Raptor banding

A couple of days ago, Agni, Alfredo and I visited one of the two raptor banding stations that are operated near San Isidro, a little north of Cardel. These sites are operated by Pronatura staff, some of whom were counters on the River of Raptor project last year.

It rained in the morning, but the afternoon was pleasant. The dune site didn't catch anything, but we caught three birds on the hill. The first bird was this juvenile Gray Hawk. They are a resident species here in Veracruz, where their numbers are augmented each fall by short-distance migrants from the northern part of their range.

We also caught two dark morph Short-tailed Hawks, a small resident buteo. Personally, I think any dark morph buteo is spectacular, and it was very cool to look at this bird up close.

Here I am holding one of those Short-tailed Hawks.

Here's a ventral view of the same bird. Note the white patches in the wing, a field mark for this species.

Finally the adult dark morph Short-tailed Hawk in flight, literally seconds after we released it. The first thing it did upon regaining its freedom was resume its hunt directly overhead.

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