Spring banding has begun.

by Steve Torre on March 23, 2014

Nets are up and we are banding!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

by Steve Torre on March 18, 2014

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Owl Night

by Steve Torre on August 12, 2013

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

A Day With The Hawkers

by Steve Torre on August 12, 2013



And The Winner Is…

by Steve Torre on May 20, 2013





{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Banding summary 12-14 April

by steviegee on April 14, 2013

The cool wet weather continues on. Friday was relatively quiet, the only new bird for the season being a single WINTER WREN. A young male sharpie was trapped in the session.
Saturday. The same sharpie was re-trapped this morning but in a different
location. Pretty quiet this morning with low temps keen winds and snow!! This is SPRING right? Things brightened a little late morning with a few hermit thrushes and our FOS RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS. It is always a joy to see these little gems back. Bird of the session was a fine LE CONTE’S SPARROW. We rarely trap this species, so this made up somewhat for a lack of numbers. We finally got our first spring warbler, a YELLOW-RUMPED ( myrtle) With all the rain the river nets are now in the Sugar River, so are out of service for some time. The Saturday afternoon crew fared a lot better in the balmy conditions a goodish number of hermit thrushes both kinglets and a few yellow-bellied sapsuckers. A single FOS SWAMP SPARROW and BROWN CREEPERS were trapped. Keeping the raptor heme going, a female American Kestrel was trapped. This is the mate of the male we caught last week. It looks like they have set up a breeding territory, so we could well trap them again.
Sunday cold to start with but gradually warmed up through the morning. We had reasonable numbers of sparrows, with fox, song, field, American tree, swamp and our FOS VESPER SPARROW. More kinglets of both kinds, a lone brown creeper, a few hermit thrushes and not a lot else.


Weekend 6/7th April Lean times at SBBO

by steviegee on April 7, 2013

Although there was a decent forecast for the movement of migrants this week, we didn’t see much evidence of it over this weekend. Friday was reasonable in cool and somewhat windy conditions. Sparrows and phoebe’s were to the fore. A northern shrike came to hand, not once but twice. We usually trap them in the fall or in late spring, so this fits the pattern. I would term this a first winter bird, as it still had barring on the upper breast, and some brownish cast to the wings. We released the bird at the end of Hauley rd. It is probably the same individual that has been haunting the area this winter. Woodcock were heard and seen, but not trapped.
Saturday. Another cool and windy day. A few tree swallows are back, and the bluebirds are active. More fox and song sparrows, plus one field sparrow (FOS) and one hermit thrush (FOS). There was a smattering of golden-crowned kingleds (FOS). Sapsuckers are showing well, with the fourth trapped today, and the first female of the season. Juncos are coming through now. We are trapping new birds in each session, and not getting many re-traps. Over 50 new birds and a dozen or so re-traps.
Sunday. Overnight rain gave cause for some hope, that was not realized. It was both warmer and calmer today, but the return was pretty poor. Species composition was much as yesterday, with fox and song plus the odd one field sparrow, one hermit thrush etc. Highlight of the day was a superb male American Kestrel, the first one we have caught since 2009.( photo by Mark Blassage)


2013 spring banding season

by steviegee on March 31, 2013

After many trials and tribulations we finally got the nets up by yesterday 30th March.  The persisting winter weather all but put paid to March.  Still it is not the latest start we have had, the 13th April being the latest date, that due to to high water.  Not a huge number of birds today, but having said that a couple of early or out of the ordinary catches made up for what was lacking in weight of numbers.

The first two net runs produce a stunning adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a male Eastern Meadowlark.  Bothe these species are not uncommon, but we do not usually trap many in any given year.  The numbers were made up of the usual common resident species  American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee and Cardinal winter visitors like Dark-eyed Junco ( including one Oregon type) and early spring migrants in the shape of Song Sparrow and Eastern Bluebird.  Both of the latter do winter here.

An Eastern Phoebe has been seen at it’s usual place behind the banding station, Sandhill Cranes have been seen and heard the last couple of weeks but the Tree Swallows are yet to appear.  Average temperatures remain on the low side, but spring it seems, will not be held back any longer.

Banding returns for fall will be published soon.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


by Steve Torre on March 30, 2013

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


by Steve Torre on January 22, 2013

Orientation March 23, 12:00noon – 2:00p.m.

Spring migration of birds will soon be underway!  Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is looking for new volunteers who share a love of birds and nature in general. SBBO is located at Colored Sands Forest Preserve, 5 miles northwest of Shirland, IL  in Northwest Winnebago County.  The observatory is open weekends from March through May: Saturdays 7:00a.m.- 4:00p.m. and Sundays 7:00a.m.-12:00 noon.  Migrating birds are captured in large mist nets, information is recorded, and the birds are banded and then released. The data collected for 46 years is important information for the scientific community, telling us where birds go when they migrate, how long they live, when they return to nest, and most important: what is happening to populations of bird species.

People interested in combining their love of birds, helping visitors learn more about birds, and becoming part of an important scientific operation can learn more about volunteering Saturday, March 23, from 12:00noon – 2:00p.m.. We ask that teens age 13 and up be accompanied by a parent or other adult. Volunteers are asked to make a commitment to help on a regular basis throughout the spring weekends. Most commit to a few hours either Friday evenings (when we open nets for the weekend); Saturdays either early mornings, mid-day, or late afternoons; or Sunday mornings & to close the nets. We especially need more volunteers Saturday afternoons.

For more information:

call SBBO on the weekends at 815-629-2671 or email to: info@sandbluff.org.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }