6.24.2008

Baby birds

In the past couple months at work, I've been spending a lot of my time doing nest searching and monitoring. We maintain a nearly 100% banded population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers within a large part of Eglin, and banding nestlings is much more efficient than trying to band all of these birds as adults.


This baby RCWO is about seven days old. It can't open it's eyes yet, but has plenty of strength to lift it's head and beg for food.


I happened upon this Common Nighthawk nest shortly after the two nestlings had hatched. The second chick is hidden behind this one, and is still wet from being inside the egg.

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We use cameras on telescoping poles to look into the nest cavities. This is a video of the monitor showing three young nestlings. When I turn the camera light off, it simulates an adult blocking the light when bringing food, thus the begging.

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This is a long video of me climbing a tree to capture two nestlings to band them. We use a noose to pull them out of the hole.

6.23.2008

June FL herps

I sometimes think I might be winding down on the cool new things to see around here. I'm always glad to be wrong on that point.


Male Pig Frog (Rana grylio)


This Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) was huge (~4.5 cm wide at head, probably 2.5-3' long). It took two crayfish out of my fingers. Their bite (referring to being handled by humans) has been described as "savage," with crushing strength and razor-sharp teeth. We made a couple attempts at capturing it after luring it partly out of its ambush spot, but perhaps it was best that we didn't get it in hand.


Male Broadhead Skink (Eumeces laticeps), another good biter.




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Northern Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea copei), an exciting find that I'd been looking forward to for quite some time. This is of course one of the neat coral snake mimics. Admittedly, I had to pause for a second just to make sure.



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This is a well-marked Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos). They put on an intimidating display, but they're all bark and no bite in my experience. Unfortunately, they're often killed when people mistake them for a venomous snake. Toads make up a large part of their diet.




This young Eastern Mud Snake (Farancia abacura abacura) was probably the coolest animal I've seen in quite a while. There's something satisfying about finally seeing something that you've been looking forward to for years. My friend Brandon spotted it, so a huge thanks to him.