PEREGRINE 35/B CAPTURES A GULL
Peregrine Falcon 35/B feeding on a gull she captured north of Ocean Shores
on May 19. This photo and the others in the group were taken by Ocean Shores
photographer Pat Hayes.
35/B on banding day, October 30, 2018. About 5 months old at the time means
she's two years old this spring.
REST IN PEACE, ARTFUL DODGER
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's Zoey Greenberg with
Artful Dodger, a Turkey Vulture trapped and fitted with
a GPS satellite transmitter and wing-tag on June 6, 2018.
Artful Dodger was one of four Turkey Vultures captured and
fitted with transmitters in a collaborative effort between
Coastal Raptors and the Pennsylvania-based Hawk Mountain
If you're familiar with Charles Dickens’ writings, you may recognize the name
Artful Dodger. He was the pickpocket in the Dickens book "Oliver Twist". We
chose Artful Dodger for this vulture because he was captured at the Ocean
Shores airport in Washington. We hoped the name would bring him luck as he
dodged the occasional plane at this sleepy little airport.
Grays Harbor. Arrow points to the location at the Ocean Shores airport where
Artful Dodger was captured.
Artful Dodger spent the of the summers of 2018 and 2019 mostly on the north
side of Grays Harbor. My wife Sue and I live in the heart of Artful Dodger’s
summer home range. On occasion, I set out a deer leg or a fish carcass at the
edge our property overlooking the harbor. Given the acute sense of smell that
vultures have, this has been a way to bring them in close giving me an
opportunity to identify them if they are tagged (through photos taken with my
camera and telephoto lens). On May 20, 2019 I was able to capture this
photo of the Artful one.
A check of his location on the tracking site Movebank revealed that he had
roosted for the evening below the bluff line on our property (purple dot in
Movebank data revealed that Artful Dodger's most frequent night roost site was
a stand of Red Alder trees along the Little Hoquiam River 1.5 miles north of
Grays Harbor (solid yellow line). He roosted there often with other vultures. I
placed fish carcasses on a dock near the roost (dashed line) and, using a motion-
sensitive camera, was able to get photos of him and other vultures feeding.
Artful Dodger migrated to Mexico for the winters of 2018-2019 and 2019-
2020. His wintering area was about 20 miles northeast of Mexico City.
In December 2019, we began to get transmitter signals at irregular intervals.
They were coming from a farm field. The signals continued intermittently
during January and February.
The yellow pin is centered on Mexico City. The red arrow points to Artful
Dodger's wintering area. Kashmir Wolf, Veracruz River of Raptors Monitoring
Coordinator, traveled to Artful Dodger's last known location with his wife Diana
Balbuena to check out the situation. They drove more than four hours from
their home in Xalapa at the request of Laurie Goodrich, Hawk Mountain
Sanctuary's Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science.
Kashmir and Diana discovered the signals were coming
from a cactus farm. This photo and the others below were
taken by Kashmir.
Sadly, they found Artful Dodger's remains. All that was left were feathers
and bones, with no clue as to the cause of death.
One piece of very good news is that they
recovered the transmitter and wing-tag. The
transmitter will be returned to Hawk Mountain
Sanctuary Association for deployment on
Kashmir and his wife Diana. We greatly appreciate their efforts in solving the
mystery of what happened to Artful Dodger.
Panoramic view of the cactus farm.
VULTURES TAGGED AT OREGON'S WHISKEY RUN BEACH: SIGHTINGS
May 11, 2012. Whiskey Run Beach, 4.5 miles north of Bandon, Oregon. Dr.
Scott Ford secures three Turkey Vultures, holding one and straddling two.
Behind Scott is Glenn Johnson with a fourth vulture. We captured them with
a net launcher and Harbor Seal carcass as bait. Each bird was tissue sampled
for contaminants and disease and wing-tagged for individual identification.
We applied tags AA, AB, AC and BS to the four birds. Dan Varland photo.
A big picture view of our location north of Bandon, Oregon.
Glenn Johnson and David Ness with AC before release.
As it turns out, AC has been sighted on numerous
occasions over the years since tagging: 1 in 2013, 8
in 2014, 5 in 2015, 2 in 2016, 2 in 2017 4 in 2018, 1
in 2019 and, so far, 4 in 2020. All have been in spring
or summer. In all likelihood, AC migrates south for
AC up close on capture day in 2012. The fool-proof way to determine Turkey
Vulture gender is through a blood test, which we did not have a lab run on
our vultures. The ivory colored beak reveals that AC was at least two years old
(before that age, there are shades of gray in the beak). All four of the vultures
we captured this day were a least age 2 on capture day.
AC roosting in a tree on property where Dave Lauten and Kathy Castelein live
on March 23, 2020. Their property is about 1.5 miles east of Whiskey Run
Beach where AC and the others were captured in 2012. Dave and Kathy have
made 22 of the 27 sightings of AC over the years. This day's observation was
unique in that AC actually landed in a tree in their yard. At other times, they
saw AC flying by the house, sometimes alone but often with other vultures.
Dave Lauten. Dave and Kathy (photo below) monitor
Western Snowy Plover nesting on the Oregon coast, employed
by Oregon State University's Oregon Biodiversity Research
Center. They are holding plover chicks, which they mark with
colored leg bands to identify individuals. In a recent email, Dave
said "I work with Snowy Plovers and we have been banding for
30 years so I have a thing for marked birds." Thanks, Dave
and Kathy, for reporting your sightings. Because of your efforts
and those of several others, we know that AC is at least 10
years old and has strong fidelity to the Oregon coast near
Kathy Castelein with a Western Snowy Plover chick.
Turkey Vulture with wing tag AC, flying over Whiskey Run Beach on the
Oregon coast. Photo/sighting on March 14, 2020 by Don Albright.
AC lands on Whiskey Run Beach. This photo, also by Don Albright, was taken
on the same day as the one above.
The red pin denotes the capture location of Turkey Vulture AC and
three other vultures on May 11, 2012. The yellow pin on the beach
shows where Don Albright photographed AC, 2.3 miles from the
capture location. The second yellow pin shows where Dave and
Kathy have sightings of AC, 2013-2020.
AC feeding on a bear carcass with 6 other vultures, 3 miles east of Whiskey
Run Beach on June 28, 2014. The photo/sighting is courtesy of Jeff Sutherland.
The bear was classified a "problem" and so was killed; Jeff arranged to get the
carcass and got the photo with a motion-sensitive camera.
Glenn Johnson with AA. We have four sighting reports
for this vulture, all were in spring and within 2 miles
of the capture location: 3 in 2013 and 1 in 2015.
Meri Jane Deuel with Turkey Vulture AB. There have been 7 sightings of AB
reported over the years, all in spring or summer and all within 4.5 miles of
the capture location: 4 in 2013, 1 in 2014 1 in 2015 and 1 in 2016.
The only vulture not reported in the 8 years since tagging is BS. Hopefully BS
is out there somewhere, floating on the wind.
Date: April 4, 2020
Location: Ocean Shores
Observer: Dan Varland
I've known Pat Hayes for years. Pat lives in Ocean Shores and drives the Ocean
Shores beach on his days off, photographing the raptors he sees along the way.
Pat's been very good about reporting to me the banded Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons
and Common Ravens he sees while he's out on his route.
This day Pat called, indicating that he had heard that a Bald Eagle was dead
on the beach near the Ocean City access road. I drove to Ocean City and
found the access blocked to vehicle traffic due to statewide social distancing
restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coastal Raptors has a permit from Washington State Parks to access coastal
beaches for raptor research. It was therefore within my authority to drive
around the barricade, which I promptly did. I drove a half-mile north and was
unable to locate the carcass. I headed south and saw a bicyclist. I waived him
down and asked if he'd seen a dead eagle on the beach. Somewhat to my
surprise, he said yes and told me where I could find it.
I found the eagle, and adult, a half-mile south of the access point. It didn't take
long to see what the problem was - fishing line.
The arrow points to the carcass of another bird. It too was wrapped in fishing line, which in turn
was tangled in the eagle's legs. The eagle had gone after an easy meal and became caught in the
Unable to fly or even to walk due to severe entanglement, I suspect the eagle
drown on an incoming tide.
It is likely that, had the beach been open to the public, someone would have
spotted the struggling eagle and reported it, providing an opportunity for rescue.
What can we learned from this? When we see fishing line lying around on the
beach or anywhere, we should pick it up.
Date: March 13, 2020
Location: Long Beach
Observers: Dan Varland, Tony Starlight, Alex Lauber and Glenn Marquardt.
Photos by Tony Starlight and Dan Varland.
|19 adult, 21 immature
||Color Marker Code
Immature Bald Eagle drying his wings.
Immature Bald Eagle. This one's a little closer to adulthood than the one
Adults, likely a mated pair. The one in the foreground is banded. We were not
able to make a positive ID.
Semipalmated Plovers. Dan Varland photo.
Sanderlings. Dan Varland photo.
Black-bellied Plovers. Dan Varland photo.
Bald Eagle and driftwood in silhouette at the north end of the 25-mile long
Long Beach Peninsula. Dan Varland photo.
Common Raven feeding on a Dungeness Crab carcass.
Enjoying the day. Dan Varland photo.
We managed to snare a Bald Eagle late in the survey. Alex and I gathered him
Alex secures the hood, gripping one strap with a hand and the other with
A hooded eagle is a calm eagle. Whew!
Alex slides boots over the feet and tightens the straps, removing the risk of
anyone getting footed while Glenn records data.
Alex holds the eagle, now with a hood, boots and a wrap known as
Glenn, Alex and I get ready to apply the bands and take a blood sample.
We chose visual ID band A/O.
The capture and banding location at the south
end of the 25-mile long peninsula.
Alex applying visual ID band A/O.
I get in position to take a head measurement called "cranium"
while Alex hangs holds the eagle.
Alex with the eagle. Measurements indicated this
bird was a male (males the smaller gender).
The eagle was transferred Tony, who then released
A/O flew to a nearby T-perch and promptly viewed his newly-acquired
jewelry. Dan Varland photo.
He didn't stay long.
Tony noticed a very appropriate whisky on the shelf at a
local pub after the survey.
We shared a toast to Bald Eagle A/O.
Date: March 2, 2020
Location: Ocean Shores
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, and Dan Miller.
Photos by Dan Varland unless otherwise noted.
|17 adults, 13 immatures
Marked Individual Observed
||Color Marker Code
Bald Eagles. Bald Eagles go through a series of molts leading to adult plumage.
The process takes 3-6 years, typically 5. The eagle on the left is a one-year old
(second plumage) and the one on the right is age 2 (third plumage). Beak and
eye color also change during this process, from brown to yellow.
Sea Otter carcass. Note the tag on the rear flipper. We reported the find to the
Marine Mammal Stranding Network's Dyanna Lambourne, who asked us to
remove the tag and send it to her office in Lakewood.
Removing the tag. David Kenney photo.
A careful look reveals the number on this tag: 553. The 3 is especially hard to
Bald Eagle pair. The eagle on the right wears visual ID band B/O. This eagle,
a male, was banded June 12, 2015. This is the 151st sighting of B/O since
banding day; re-sightings show that B/O is a year-round resident of our Ocean
Shores study area. We assume that the bird on the left is his mate.
Another Bald Eagle pair. The eagle on the right wears visual ID band M/Z.
This eagle, a female, was banded on April 20, 2018; this is the 30th sighting of
M/Z since banding. Sighted in all seasons on the Ocean Shores study area, M/Z
is also a year-round resident. We assume the eagle on the left is her mate.
Date: March 1, 2020
Location: Long Beach.
Observers: Dan Varland, Mary Kay Kenney, David Kenney, Sophie
Garcia-Heras, Deena Heg, Bob Plotnick, and Gay Jensen.
Photos by Dan Varland.
Bald Eagles squabble over food.
One takes off with the prize.
Sophie photographing a Northern Fulmar carcass. She counted 49 such
carcasses along the survey route, 5 fewer than yesterday's total. Why so many
dead fulmars? The most likely reason is starvation due changing ocean
conditions and a decrease in forage fish.
Seizing the moment.
Bald Eagle feeds on a beach-cast sea lion. We encountered many eagles during
today's survey but did not do a systematic count.