01-15-15 Field Note

Beau Larkin's latest field note includes pictures of songbirds near bird feeders and an update on the electric exclosure's effectiveness.

This red-breasted nuthatch seemed eager for me to fill the bird feeder. It darted between perches on aspen trunks and branches just a few feet away.
Evening grosbeaks also perched nearby. They stayed farther away from me than the nuthatch did. The grosbeaks also seemed more skittish and would flush to higher branches when I took a step.
The electric exclosure in Entrance Meadow supports six hot wires and stands at eight feet tall. In this image, the lowest wire lies buried under the snow. We installed switches (inset, arrow) to deactivate the lower wires and prevent grounding out the electric current through snow or vegetation
The fence repelled a white-tailed deer, but it is unclear from the tracks whether the electric current or physical presence of the fence led to success in this case. The arrow points to the lowest hot wire.
Another track showed where a deer had crept under the hot wires and infiltrated the exclosure. We will adjust the switches to deactivate the lower wires one at a time and keep the electric current as close as possible to the ground.
Heavy snow froze into icy chunks on alder branches. Catkins (arrow) remained ice-free. A flock of common redpolls exploited the seeds in alder and birch catkins nearby.
With autumn long past, this cottonwood leaf seemed out of place on the crusty snow.
Posted on 1/15/2015 by Beau Larkin

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