Surveying Nevada’s Fiercest Forest Raptor with  麦肯齐信徒
北部的苍鹰

麦肯齐信徒

麦肯齐

Surveying Nevada’s Fiercest Forest Raptor with 麦肯齐信徒

Often when I tell people that I am a biologist for the 野生动物 多样性 内华达野生动物保护署的部门,我得给你个解释.

的原因? 内华达州有600多种野生动物,其中只有几十种是狩猎动物, meaning the remaining several hundred species are not hunted, 包括各种鸣禽, 蝙蝠, 啮齿动物, 蛇, 和蜥蜴. Some of these species live in very isolated and remote parts of the state, 而其他的可能在你的后院很常见. 这就是我的切入点. The Nevada Department of 野生动物 is tasked to protect, 节约, manage and restore wildlife and the 野生动物 多样性 Division, 我工作的地方, 是谁负责其中的非游戏部分.

内华达东北部地形
内华达东北部地形
麦肯齐信徒

Every day of my job is different, which is maybe what I love about it most. From winter bat surveys focused on disease surveillance and hibernation counts, 为小型哺乳动物的库存调查设置了数百个铝活陷阱——几乎每天都把我带到内华达州的不同地方, 研究不同的物种. 但, 今年春夏我最期待的项目是我们在内华达州东北部的北苍鹰研究.

北部的苍鹰
北部的苍鹰
麦肯齐信徒

我想大多数人都熟悉鹰,也许你在上班路上看到的那只栖息在电线杆上的红尾鹰, 但是北苍鹰猛禽Gentillis-不太熟悉, 部分原因是它不那么常见和明显, spending much of its time quietly stalking prey in thick forests. 然而, 一盎司换一盎司, this bird is probably the most agile and fiercest of raptors in Nevada, 在树林和森林边缘上飞驰, 积极地捕食小鸟和哺乳动物. Adult Goshawks are a silver-gray with a white eyebrow and startling red eye.

Although they can be stealthy, they have an intimidating and 尖锐的警报呼叫 它们可以用来把你从巢里吓出来. 大多数人不会去寻找, 或者知道在哪里找到苍鹰的巢, but as a 多样性 Biologist who is trained to study these birds, 接近巢穴是一项令人兴奋的工作. 我听过这样的故事:生物学家离苍鹰的巢太近了,这只2-3磅重的鸟发出的声音就能让最强壮的人摔倒在地. 在某些情况下, biologists who don’t duck fast enough end up with scratches, or even stitches from the bird’s incredibly forceful dive-bombs.

有北方苍鹰巢的树
北苍鹰巢
麦肯齐信徒

但是接近它们的巢穴, 试图更深入地了解北苍鹰正是我们在捕鸟日要做的. 我们首先找到一个活跃的巢穴, quietly observing until we know the nestlings are a couple of weeks old. 一旦确定了雏鸟年龄, 然后我们进去,布下一张大网, sort of like a black volleyball net but with finer mesh, attached to two poles via clothespins near the nest tree. 我们用一个模拟的诱饵,来吸引北方苍鹰,以便我们诱捕、研究和释放.

The bait is a mounted Great Horned Owl with a remote caller that “hoots”. 一旦把包裹猫头鹰标本的黑色袋子拿掉,猫头鹰就会被窝里的成年苍鹰发现, 战争几乎立即宣布. 然后我们迅速溜到一个观察点, 披着迷彩网, waiting and watching with an occasional push of the “hoot” button from afar. Great Horned Owls are known to frequently attack Goshawks and their young, 所以在成年苍鹰对无耻的入侵者做出回应之前,等待的时间往往很短. 那, 因为雌性苍鹰通常是最具保护性的,因为它们的母性本能——好妈妈!-她会飞过去扑向猫头鹰. Her goal is simple—scare off, or eliminate this threat.

可能会有一两次“虚张声势”, 但通常情况下,这只鸟会全力以赴, ripping the feathers or even the wings and head off of the owl mount, which is what makes this trapping technique so effective. 苍鹰变得如此专注于猫头鹰,以至于她没有看到它后面的网,直到为时已晚. Bam! 她击球入网, net breaks away with the bird getting tangled, and we quietly and quickly dive in to do our work.

第一步:我们小心翼翼地把鸟从网里解开,用猎鹰面罩遮住她的眼睛, which serves to mask their eyes and calm the bird down.

带野生动物发射器的北方苍鹰
北方苍鹰与野生动物发射器
麦肯齐信徒

Next, her talons are wrapped to protect both us, and the bird. She quickly calms down as one of us settles in, holding her wings to her side. No matter how many times we move in for this type of survey study, 有一件事永远不会改变:拿着德国人阿提拉头盔上画的那只臭名昭著的鸟,真是超现实.

人在量苍鹰的尾羽
测量苍鹰的尾羽
麦肯齐信徒
展示野生动物发射器的人
野生动物发射机
麦肯齐信徒

我们测量体重, 爪大小, 翼展, 尾羽长度, and attach a small metal leg band as a unique identifier. The next step is the most important—outfitting her with a transmitter.

类似于电脑和智能手机, technology available to wildlife biologists has advanced by leaps and bounds, 允许使用小的, 22克(大约4枚镍币的重量)的发射器,能够每小时告诉我们鸟在哪里. 更好的是, transmitter is solar-powered and all of the information is satellite-based, meaning we simply download the data through a website on a weekly basis. The transmitter is put on much like a backpack is, 每只翅膀上都有圈, 在把我们的鸟放回内华达州的荒野之前,我们会特别注意确保它是完美的.

当一切尘埃落定, entire process—from setting up the catch and release trap, 完成调查, 而放生只需要不到一个小时. 我们的雌苍鹰似乎没有意识到她的新手镯和背包,这是一件好事. 我们立即开始为她定位,并在随后的调查中观察成年和年轻的黑猩猩, 特别是有多少年轻的羽翼, which means they are old enough to fly (although often not gracefully at first). 在夏天结束之前, 除了一些白色的粪便和一些羽毛外,鸟巢里没有留下多少鸟类的证据.

So you might ask, why go to these survey lengths for just one bird species? 一些研究发现,世界上一半的猛禽种群数量正在下降——当这样一个物种受到影响时, it’s often a good indicator of larger environmental concerns. In Nevada, Goshawks have special protection designations from the 状态, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management, which certainly helps with conservation. 但是作为一个整体, 我们对苍鹰的了解, including its movement patterns between summer and winter, 和它独特的栖息地联系, 是有限的.

在这项研究之前,我们知道它们最常在内华达州孤立的白杨林中筑巢 Jarbidge, Ruby山,和监视范围附近 阿尔塔-托基马荒野区—but not much about where they moved outside of the breeding season, 尤其是在冬天. 我们不确定我们的鸟类是否会迁徙,如果是的话, were these large migrations that many other raptors follow, 或者更小距离的迁移? And what features of the landscape might the birds be might drawn to?

我们的第一台发射器于2017年发射,在完成任何深入分析之前,我们还有几年的数据收集,但这些信息有助于我们了解如何最好地保护这种敏感物种,以及哪些行动可能对它有益或产生负面影响. 那, 在这些调查工作中收集的数据使我们能够确定鸟类每天(有时甚至每小时)的活动, 它们活动范围的大小, and types of habitats they are using at different times of year. Data from these studies can also cue us in on new nest areas, 当苍鹰来筑巢的时候, how they move in and out of the area if habitats are impacted, 和更多的.

三个人在观察一只北方苍鹰
北苍鹰测量
麦肯齐信徒

The next time you’re out and about in Nevada’s backcountry, give that large bird you see from afar a double take… it might just be a Goshawk, or another massive bird of prey moving through Nevada’s Great Basin. 对我来说, 它们是所有猛禽中最威严的一种,我们应该感谢它们成为内华达州野生动物故事的一部分.

拿着北方苍鹰的女人

麦肯齐信徒

作者简介

麦肯齐在爱达荷州北部长大,获得了爱达荷大学野生动物生态学和保护生物学的双学士学位, followed by a Master’s degree studying river otters from Kansas 状态 University. 她花了几年时间在西部的国家公园里研究美国鼠兔,然后加入了她的丈夫马特——埃尔科的一位大型狩猎生物学家——和内华达州野生动物部. 麦肯齐 and Matt spend most of their spare time hunting, 钓鱼, 他们在美国西部的公共土地上背包旅行和露营,并将对大自然的热爱传递给他们的三个小孩.