Monday 4 April 2011

Ottawa birding

This past weekend I was in Ottawa to visit Mira where we joined an OFO field trip on Sunday.

Saturday was spent indoors where we spent the day twiddling our thumbs. We weren't bored or disappointed that we weren't enjoying the nice day outside.

We were taxidermy-ing!

I managed to get my hands on a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak that found its way into a freezer after striking a building last year in Toronto. Want to read about these evil buildings?

Saturday the Grosbeak was in Ottawa with its insides spilled out and replaced with cotton balls, a wooden stick and a few strategically placed threads.
It was a fun day full of learning!

Warning, bird lovers may not enjoy the next series of photos! I can not be held accountable for any form of regurgitation!

Without cutting into the body and simply blowing on the feathers it is easy to 'part' the feathers to either side and see the breast skin and fat. The yellowish stuff is the fat. This bird was much fatter than we bargained for making it a difficult taxidermy but we still managed.

After making the first incision you can see inside of the bird and a lot of fat.

We swear it wasn't road kill!!

All sewed back up and looking a little window-stricken.

All cleaned up and ready to migrate back to Toronto!

So yeah, it was fun, and it looks alright. Right? Well maybe not as good as a pro taxidermiest (is that even a word?) but we're getting better and the next bird we taxidermy will hopefully turn out nicer. We have 3 more to cut up, dig around in and sew back up.

The OFO field trip on Sunday was great. I saw 3 new species for the year that I had thought I wouldn't see. 

I've searched for Gray Partridge at least 4 times this year without any luck so when someone shouted out "Gray Partridge!" I was pretty excited! But they were already well hidden away in a patch of corn stalks when I heard that. After a few minutes they flew out and away, giving me the fleeting glimpse of a blurry bird... all too often.

We also found an Evening Grosbeak, a Greater White-fronted Goose, thousands of Snow Geese and many many Northern Pintails.