The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Posts tagged june ficker

  • A Rare Bird

    | February 26, 2016

    The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 2/28/2016.

    Deer June

    “Today, I feel like a chimney swift, because I’m looking for a mate!”

    We had been asked, at the start of the meeting, to reveal the animal we most felt like. At 89 years old, June Ficker had the best answer. Of course it was a bird, because she was the Wells Reserve at Laudholm’s most committed and knowledgeable master bird bander. But the uproarious “looking for a mate” part was so June. She had that spark, that consistent ability to deny the age society said she should act.

  • Remembering June Ficker

    | February 11, 2016

    It was a blow, that message last Friday.

    • From: Paul Dest
    • To: All Staff
    • Sent: Fri 2/5/2016 11:05 AM

    We have lost a committed conservationist, a lover of birds and of all things wild, a master bird-bander and masterful birder, an excellent teacher and an enthusiastic life-long learner, and one the greatest friends one could ever have.

    June lived an extraordinary life — 91 years of active and engaged living. Her presence will continue to be felt here for years to come.

    Master bird bander June Ficker holds a northern waterthrush during a demonstration at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.

  • Wing'd XXXV: Is It On The List?

    | January 30, 2016

    Grandma Judkins kept her binoculars to the left of the kitchen sink on a small shelf that grandpa had mounted below the cupboard. Those timeworn field glasses were an easy reach if some bird caught her eye through the windows above the sink. Should a green heron appear along the creek, or should "George," the red-winged blackbird, claim the feeder in the back yard, she could get to the glasses quickly, unwind their cracked leather strap, and take a look.

  • Happy Memorial... Year

    | May 24, 2015

    Mind the dip

    The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 5/24/2015.

    The small bird my boys found in the backyard last weekend was olive green with an orange crown like a dirty hunter’s hat. It showed no signs of violence, but it was definitely dead. No rigor mortis, so it wasn’t a winter casualty emerged from the snow. …that’s as far as our “CSI: South Portland” investigation went before I got a shovel and buried the bird six inches under. My seven-year-old placed a cantaloupe-sized rock over the grave and we went on with our day.

    It was only after going back inside that evening that I began to wonder what species of bird it had been.

  • Wing'd XXXI: She's Got Legs

    | May 6, 2015

    One April long ago, my ornithology instructor took our class to Bowerman Basin to view an annual sandpiper spectacle he helped discover and document. Dr. Herman delivered us to an enormous flock of shorebirds and, as science students "seeking patterns in nature," charged us with tallying them.

    Western Sandpipers and Dunlins in Oregon. Photo by David B. Ledig and in the public domain.

    "How do we count such a huge flock of birds?" we asked the sage.

    "Count the legs and divide by two," was his wisdom.*

    Ever since, I've strived to get good looks at bird legs whenever I've got binoculars in hand. No, I'm not counting them; I'm checking them for bands. Steve also taught us the value of studying birds as individuals and as populations — and how both approaches are aided by a scientist's ability to identify specific birds reliably. To do that requires marking them and legs are the go-to appendage.

  • Feathered Friending

    | May 31, 2014

    Barred Owl face

    The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 6/1/2014.

    My son and I were simultaneously awakened at 4am this past Sunday by the call of the wild. At first we heard what sounded like a howl, but then as the fog of sleep cleared, the noise resolved into the distinct calls who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all.

  • 2013 Summer Bird Banding Report

    | October 28, 2013

    Official bird bands in June Ficker's gear boxMaster bird bander June Ficker and her crew wrapped up the summer season at the end of August. June recently shared her summer wrap-up and we're happy to pass along these facts and highlights for 2013…

  • Two Decades of Saw-whet Owl Banding

    | October 1, 2013

    Bird bander June Ficker recalls how she got started netting saw-whet owls, shares some details about the birds she has banded, and explains a few precautions taken during the autumn saw-whet season…

    Northern Saw-whet Owl in the hand with wing spread

  • Fore! 8th Annual Reserve Cup

    | October 23, 2012

    Teeing offIn mid October, after the hectic field season ends and with September's major events a fading memory, many of us start to anticipate the allstaff email from Tin and Jeremy announcing a date for the annual Reserve Cup. A week and a half ago they picked today for our early escape from the office. It's hard to imagine they could have chosen a more gorgeous autumn afternoon for the pilgrimage.

  • International Migratory Bird Day 2012

    | May 22, 2012

    Bird walkOur International Migratory Bird Day celebration on May 12 offered myriad activities for visitors of all ages. The event kicked off with a bird walk. Many warbler species were observed, including the rare Worm-eating Warbler. June Ficker and her faithful team of volunteers demonstrated their bird-banding process all morning, allowing visitors to carefully release the captured birds once the data collection was complete. Special guests Allison and Jeffrey Wells, authors of the new book Maine's Favorite Birds, gave a presentation about migratory birds followed by a book signing.