Friday, 1 July 2016

A Coyote and more on Barn Swallows

28 June 2016

     On the way back from Sprucehaven Miriam and I were delighted to see this very handsome Coyote Canis latrans. Often urban Coyotes are a little scruffy, skinny, and of necessity evasive. This sleek, obviously well-fed, gorgeous individual was seen in a field. The rodent population is high and at this time of year many Groundhogs Marmota monax are available for a wily, skillful predator.

     These canids have been persecuted in every way man can devise but they survive against all odds. We were thrilled to see such a magnificent specimen and we earnestly hope for it to have a long and productive life.

     When we were last at Sprucehaven with the intention of banding the final young birds, Kevin had determined that the occupants of one nest were a little small and decided to wait a couple more days.

The Barn at SpruceHaven

     They look for all the world like the members of a choir, striving to hit a difficult high C in unison.

     In adjacent nests the nestlings had been banded several days earlier and looked ready to fledge.

     Having carefully extracted the candidates for banding Kevin carefully transported them to the table we have set up as our banding station. It is a casebook study in feather development to examine the growth of the various tracts on this small bird.

     Throughout this whole process we have welcomed respectful observers who wish to see the banding take place; most of them never having experienced it before.
     This evening we were joined by Kevin's stepdaughter Nicole McInally and her two-and-a-half year old son, Ethan.

     Ethan's attention was riveted on Kevin and he was clearly fascinated by the whole process.

        He didn't want to miss any part of what Grandpa Kevin was doing.

     I think he thought that the strand of bands was a rare and unusual form of bling!

     In addition to the nestlings we have begun to band the adult swallows in order to build up as complete a picture as we can of this significant colony. At the end of this breeding season we will be looking forward to the return of the swallows next spring when we will be able to ascertain how many are exhibiting natal and breeding site fidelity.

     Having told Ethan how to hold his hand out flat, Kevin placed a banded adult in his hand, where it remained for the briefest of moments before zooming off.

     His sheer happiness at having been able to do this is obvious in the picture below.

     All of the nestlings have now been banded and the young have fledged from four of the nests. I check the barn each day and when I go there this afternoon I am expecting to find at least one more empty nest.
     Soon I will be checking for second clutches - and the whole exercise will start all over again!


  1. Hi David, another super post with great images of the Coyote, certainly young Ethan has had a wonderful time by the look on his face bless him. Regards John

  2. Hi David.

    Beautiful pictures you have taken the praire wolf.
    What a nice picture of the little barn swallows.
    And super small boy already getting so much with nature.

    Groettie frome Patricia.

  3. Beautiful Coyote and the ringing of Barn Swallow, brilliant images David.

  4. Hello David, having had a brake for two weeks in France with my brother and having friends over for almost a week I have now time to comment on the blogs I follow and yours ofcourse. What joy to see young Ethan had so much fun with watching the birds get a ring and releasing one of them. That barn looks fantastic and such a great place to make their nests.
    Hope all is well with you and your wife Miriam.
    Take care,

  5. Wow, that's another Coyote then the first one I saw. That coyote, tried to catch my friend, the Roadrunner. He didn't succeed! Beautiful pictures of the real Coyote, David. The banding ceremony again is well photographed and little Ethan is very curious. Gr Jan W

  6. Hi David,
    Great photos especially of the coyote: that was lucky to see him and in such good shape! Too bad they have that undeserved reputation since they eat mainly rodents.
    Yes, I have just settled in my new but temporary home and I intend to travel in the coming months!
    I'll finish this comment in a private e-mail...
    Keep well :)

  7. Very interesting series of posts on the barn swallows, all the interesting work he has done Kevin and teaching that is for all those children who have been participating or watching their work, surely is a big influence forming potential birdwatchers and citizens respectful of nature. In my area of residence this species was always shifting, however a population started breeding under eaves and bridges in the south of the province of Buenos Aires, in recent years have expanded their nesting ground to the center and north of the province , raised in sewers or under bridges. Last Christmas and new year I could take some pics of a nest with eggs and nestlings.

  8. Dearest David,
    Wow, you were very lucky for having spotted this coyote up close! I've only heard them, across the lake at our friends's property.
    Lovely swallow photos and also the excited young nature lovers.

  9. Your photo's are all great, but I have to say young Ethan stole the show!
    What a smile - just pure happiness, that is most special.

    Wishing you a good weekend

    All the best Jan

  10. Hi. Great work you have done. A nice when the children participate.

  11. Hi David. Tes, those IPhones can be tricky customers. I think I said that I am surprised you have Coyotes so close to you home but a wonderful addition to your wildlife. As to the |Swallows, full marks once again to your team for not only completing the task, but sharing it with the young generation.

    I hope I am able to get out ringing soon myself as my supposed "virus" is still not clear and seems to be the debiliaiting side effects of taking statin drugs. Doctors!

  12. I like the Coyote :-))) And Swallows are so lovely.. Nice pictures.. Cheers..

  13. Hi David,another great post from you,Love the Coyote captures,but,those young Swallows are to die for,brilliant close ups.

  14. I rememeber seeing a wild Coyote in the US when I was a kid. I was convinced it was a wolf until some adults said it was 'just' a coyote..........

  15. Hi David,
    Splendid meet, a Coyote !!! Fantastic.
    Good job with bird. I like to see the children with you. The futurs naturalist !
    Good night David

  16. Super images of the Coyote, David. You've got me wondering if these are what I saw in Colorado when I was out on a cross-country ski trail. There were a pair of them making their way up a snowy hillside beside a forest. I've always thought of them as Timber Wolves, but now you've got me thinking!

    As for involving the children in the banding operation, the smile on Ethan's face says it all!

    Love to you both - - Richard

    1. It's pretty certain they would have been coyotes, Richard. Wolves of any ilk have been totally extirpated in Colorado and there has been no reintroduction programme as there has been in Yellowstone National Park for example - with very successful results I might add.

  17. Wow ... that's really unique to see a Coyote! In Neerland you can only see at the zoo, and even then not in all zoo. Great that they still there in the wild.

    The members of the choir (the swallows) I found hilarious hahahaha ... what a nice title for these little ones hahahaha ..... Really a very beautiful and bright series. Kalsse David!

  18. The baby swallows are very cute. The coyote is very handsome and looks very healthy.