Field Fun Friday

As an ode to the scavenger removal study, here is a picture a fellow researcher was able to snap when they witnessed a raven swallow a pigeon head whole just outside the office! – Even biologists who don’t work in the field all the time get to witness cool stuff.CP_Deadbird

Photo by Christina Prokopenko

 

Scavenger Removal Experiment Catches a Furry Friend

This fall the University of Alberta Birds and Windows Project launched a new Scavenger Removal Experiment at houses in the Edmonton area. This study was designed to determine the number of bird window collisions being missed by homeowners because bird carcasses are being removed by scavengers before they can be found.

As part of her undergraduate thesis, Colina Collins has been heading this project with the help of myself, Justine Kummer, and undergraduate student Elita Grinde.

In participating in this study, each house is being equipped with a small webcam and raspberry pi computer that has been programmed for motion capture photography. A bird carcass is then placed in front of the window of choice and in direct view of the camera. The Royal Alberta Museum has graciously donated a number of bird carcasses to this project. After a week we return to each home and analyze the photos.

We were very excited to find a squirrel in our pictures one afternoon. This little fellow found himself a delicious afternoon snack on November 7th.

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22-20141107134742-01If you are interested in participating in the Scavenger Removal Experiment please contact us at birdsandwindows@ualberta.ca.

 

A Bird’s Eye-view

While attaching GPS transmitters to Ferruginous hawks in the summer of 2014, Jesse Watson and Cam Nordell encountered a number of composed, charismatic male Ferruginous Hawks, like those pictured below. Typically, a male Ferruginous Hawk eye color will range from a light brown to a fairly dark brown. Interestingly, in many raptor species, a keen observer will often be able to detect a change in eye color with age.RaptEye_1

During the attachment of the last transmitter of the summer Cam and Jesse encountered a particularly spectacular eye color in one individual. Below you can see the fantastic golden eye color of this particular male.RaptEye_2

If you look really closely you can actually see Cam and Jesse in the reflection of his retina. It takes a brave researcher to meet the steely gaze of one of the Canadian Grasslands top predators, but it was a fitting end to the 2014 Ferruginous Hawk transmitter attachment season.

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Written by Cameron Nordell

Job Posting: Assistant Banders and Banders-in-Charge

MAPS ASSISTANT BANDERS IN CANADA: Open to Canadian Citizens only. Owl Moon Environmental Inc. (OMEI; www.owlmoon.ca) together with the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP; www.birdpop.org) are seeking up to six Assistant Banders, each to assist in the establishment and operation of a network of six mist-netting and banding stations in the oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, for the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program (http://www.birdpop.org/maps.htm). Positions extend from May 1st through August 9th, 2015. Completion of a Bachelors degree in biology, ecology or zoology, prior banding experience, and the ability to identify birds by call will be an asset. Successful candidates will be tolerant of long days that begin before dawn, possess the ability to endure sometimes-difficult field conditions, and help maintain a healthy team atmosphere in the field. Assistant Banders will adhere to safety and industrial site requirements for working in this region. Assistant Banders will be employees of OMEI, and will receive payment of between CA$2,500 and CA$3,250 per month, depending on experience and field housing arrangements. Assistant Banders completing the season adequately and responsibly and adhering to all required safety protocols will receive a lump-sum bonus of CA$2,500 at the conclusion of the program. Housing will be provided. A truck will be provided for use by each crew; a clean driver’s abstract (driving record) will be required as part of the application process. No health or other benefits beyond those included herein will be included. Applications must be received by January 2, 2015 and must include a cover letter, resume, and the name and contact information of three persons as references. To apply or receive further information please contact Lauren Helton at lhelton@birdpop.org.

 

MAPS BANDERS-IN-CHARGE IN CANADA: Open to Canadian and U.S. Citizens only. Owl Moon Environmental Inc. (OMEI; www.owlmoon.ca) together with the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP; www.birdpop.org) are seeking up to six Banders-in-Charge (BIC), each to establish and operate a network of six mist-netting and banding stations in the oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, for the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program (http://www.birdpop.org/maps.htm). Positions extend from May 1st through August 9th, 2015. Successful applicants MUST have advanced skills in mist-netting, bird banding, ageing and sexing of landbirds in the hand, ability to identify birds by song and call, and operation of a banding station in order to obtain a CWS bird-banding subpermit. NABC certification and previous experience with the MAPS protocol would be very useful assets. A completed Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in biology, ecology, environmental science, or zoology (or equivalent) will be necessary for U.S. citizens to meet requirements for entry into Canada. Successful candidates will lead a crew of 2-3 banders and will supervise, guide, and provide advanced training to Assistant Banders on bird-banding skills, and aging and sexing of birds. Demonstrated leadership skills, attention to detail, adherence to safety requirements, and tolerance of long field days that begin before dawn, a tolerance of sometimes-difficult field conditions, and an ability to supervise and maintain a healthy team atmosphere in the field are required. BIC’s will adhere to safety and industrial site requirements for working in this region. BIC’s will be employees of OMEI, and will receive payment of between CA$3,500 and CA$4,250 per month, depending on experience and field housing arrangements. BIC’s completing the season adequately and responsibly and adhering to all required safety protocols will receive a lump-sum bonus of CA$2,500 at the conclusion of the program. Housing will be provided. A truck will be provided for use by each crew; a clean driver’s abstract (driving record) will be required as part of the application process. No health or other benefits beyond those described herein will be included. Applications must be received by January 2, 2015 and must include a cover letter, resume and the name and contact information of three persons as references. To apply or receive further information please contact Lauren Helton at lhelton@birdpop.org.

Boreal Caribou of BC

Over the past two years, the Organising Committee of the 14th North American Caribou Workshop has been involved in a number of initiatives that highlight the value of caribou to Canadians (and other peoples across the circumpolar distribution of Rangifer), the challenges of conserving caribou, and the research and other activities meant to maintain caribou across arctic, boreal, and mountain landscapes. One of those initiatives is three short videos that explain the ecology and conservation of woodland caribou found in British Columbia (BC). The 14th Caribou Workshop was held in Fort St. John, BC, thus, the focus on the three ecotypes of caribou found in BC (Boreal, Southern Mountain, Northern Mountain).  However, the messages are general and meant to build a broader understanding of caribou across Canada and beyond.

The videos will be released every two weeks (November 3, 17 and December 1 ) and are available in high resolution at Vimeo and Youtube.  The first video was released already and is focused on boreal caribou (https://vimeo.com/110143305 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQmG4dkde50&list=UUGa9WHJLRzxs3Xt-dWkB_MA&index=1).

Courtesy of Chris Johnson on behalf of the Organising Committee for the 14th North American Caribou Workshop