Friday, August 15, 2008

Golden Eagle Audubon visits IBO (8-9-08)

This last Saturday a contingent (19 strong) of GEAS came on a field trip to view the songbird migration banding at Lucky Peak. I was traveling back from the conference in Portland that day and was bumbed to miss some great folks but I gather that everyone enjoyed the visit and Gary Robinson was kind enough to get some photos for me. I always enjoy these trips because many good questions are always asked and it's nice to catch up with some great local birders. See you next time!

GEAS folks look on as Heidi & Heriberto process birds.

Here's Bruce (center) detailing something ;-) - maybe he's explaining how bird skulls ossify!

Heriberto (left) & Heidi probably discussing the finer points of Empidonax flycatcher identification as the crowd looks on.

Two Pine Siskins that are banded, measured, & weighed and ready to return to their lives.

A young male Black-headed Grosbeak is nearing freedom ....

"Adios amigos!"

Saturday, August 09, 2008

2008 Cooper Ornithological Society/ American Ornithologist's Union/Society of Canadian Ornithologist's meeting

I returned to Boise 1.5 hours ago from the 2008 joint conference of three ornithological societies (Cooper Ornithological Society, American Ornithologist's Union, and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists) that took place in Portland, OR. It was an exciting meeting with over 900 attendees .....

Many of the banquet attendees for the 2008 conference ... lots of bird-nerds!

There were many great presentations but one of the main highlights for me was that as I stood up to give my presentation (comparing stopover ecology and capture heights of birds between Lucky Peak & Camas NWR), I could see 6 former IBO field assistants in the crowd (& 2 others were also at the conference)! All cool people & it was rewarding to hear about their research, etc. I was able to catch 5 of them on film (unfortunately, I didn't come up with the photo idea until the final afternoon and several folks couldn't be found among the hordes of ornithologists):

Catalina LondoƱo and Gabriel Colorado (both from Colombia). Gabriel worked at Lucky Peak in 1999 and then both Cata and Gabriel were at Lucky Peak for a couple weeks in 2003. Gabriel is now studying Cerulean Warblers for his PhD at Ohio State University and Cata is about to begin a Fulbright scholarship supported PhD in Environmental Economics at Illinois (Champaign-Urbana).

Zoltan Nemeth (left, from Hungary) alongside some colleagues (Jen Owen, Emily Cohen, and Kristina Paxton) affiliated with the Migratory Bird Research Group at U of Southern Mississippi. Zoltan worked with us in the summer & fall of 2000 (and we hadn't seen each other since!). He's married & about to complete his PhD with Frank Moore studying social behavior of migrating birds. (Also, I worked for Jen 10 years ago on a spring migration study in Louisiana!!)

Khara Strum (left, sitting with Susan Skagen of USGS in Colorado) is from Ohio and just finished her Masters at Kansas State where she studied pesticide exposure for migrating and wintering shorebirds. Khara worked at IBO in 2003 & 2004.

Michelle Labbe and Scott Kimball. Michelle worked with me at Camas NWR in 2005 and is about to finish her Masters at UMass where she studies the post-breeding ecology of migratory birds. Scott is a former BSU raptor biology student who's about to finish his PhD at Ohio State.

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun to see all these folks (along with Dan Battaglia, Dale Gentry, and Jeremy Russell -not shown) and catch up!



Summer/Early Fall Banding Results (so far)

Greetings IBO blog-readers (anyone still out there after the loooong gap between posts??)

After a busy summer and some training of a new (& stellar) crew for our fall migration season, I'm aiming to get back on the ball and post at least somewhat regularly ....

We had a late start to the breeding season up at Lucky Peak - likely due to the cool weather in late May/early June that stalled all those Western Tanagers in the valley areas - and we've seen the impact during our breeding season banding (early June to early July). Normally we see fledglings by late June and the pulse of young birds didn't really begin until well into June. So far it appears that birds that arrived before the cool spring weather (such as Nashville Warblers) were able to breed "on time" whereas late arrivers such as Western Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, and MacGillivray's Warblers were delayed by up to a couple weeks in their breeding efforts. Thus, not sure if their delayed spring arrival will impact their reproductive success and/or their fall departure timing ....

Here's a shot of our large group of volunteers that came up for our June 26 summer banding day, including (from back left): Kathl, Gary, Ruth (visiting from UT), Jody, Mike (visiting from Portland), Heidi, & (front row, from left) Dave, Greg, Deniz, Ayla, Carol, & Sylvia.

Our fall migration season began on July 16th and we've had a great start so far. Not as busy bird-wise as the last 2 seasons (likely due to the reproduction delays mentioned above) but we once again have a great crew (see below; Marissa just arrived a few days ago so we'll get a new team shot soon ...). We've already enjoyed several visitors (including Golden Eagle Audubon Society today) and we're looking forward to more!

Early-season team shot: (from left) Heriberto, Kris, Gary, Jay, & Heidi
Heriberto is from Jalisco, Mexico (and has worked with many of the same species on the wintering grounds for many years), Kris is from southern California (and is a long-time birder & Audubon member), Gary (Mountain Home) is in his 5th year of volunteering on our project, and Heidi is an undergrad at Boise State U. who's been hooked on birds for years already.

Katie Babcock & campers from the Tumble Time program during a June 17 field trip.
Mission: to contribute to the conservation of western migratory landbirds through cooperative research and public education