Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This Year's Peregrines

   On Sunday I stopped by my former place of employment to check on some old friends and coworkers.  The resident Peregrines have another brood and I was able to photograph the two young ones as they appeared to be taxiing while waiting for an available runway.

   As in previous years, I relied on the Canadian Peregrine Foundation's development guide to determine their age.  Peregrine Foundation Development Guide  From the photos on that site I figured the chicks were 33-35 days old.  A young male may attempt flight at 35 days.  Yesterday I was notified by Lab Tech Bob at the site, that the chick on the right was found uninjured on the ground and was taken by raptor rehabilitator Dave Hogan, who will return the bird when it is fully able to fly.
  Today Bob sent me an email telling me that the second chick followed the example of its nestmate and was also picked up by Mr. Hogan.   If all goes well and they graduate from flight school, it will double the number of successful fledges produced by the resident pair.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bird Photo ID Tool

On the Ebird front page this morning, I found the following description of an intriguing new bird ID tool that lets you download your photos of birds that you can't identify.

  In a breakthrough for the computer vision and for bird watching, researchers and bird enthusiasts have enabled computers to achieve a task that stumps most humans--identifying hundreds of bird species pictured in photos......the Merlin Bird ID Tool  lets you upload an image of a bird and if the photo shows one of the supported species, it returns the correct species in the top 3 results 90% of the time.  It currently supports 400 species in North America.....

  I gave the program a try and submitted the following photos and included their results.

  Of course every time you come across new technology that threatens to make our species obsolete(or at least shake our collective confidence), you have to remind the computer and its colleagues who controls the on/off button.  In that spirit I submitted a photo that humans ID correctly in one of their top three guesses 97% of the time.


Nailed it.
  Other than my lame attempt at humor the program worked pretty well but it does need a rather high quality unobstructed image to get the correct ID.

   The next ID may have been skewed by the background
America Shorthair + American Flag =  American Eagle 

  Here is a photo of the Bald Eagle sparring with a Snowy Owl in my yard.

    Reminds me of the time a Northern Saw Whet Owl took out a rabbit in my yard