Students featured in the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s monthly newsletter!

This past month two members of the Bayne lab were featured in The Alberta Wildlifer, the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s monthly newsletter. Both Anjolene Hunt and Justine Kummer were featured during the month of February.

Anjolene was given the opportunity to visit Churchill, Manitoba this past summer on the funds she received from the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society to attend to The Wildlife Society’s annual conference in Winnipeg. She recounts what was an unforgettable experience full of polar bears and Arctic adventures.

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just one of many polar bears she saw in Churchill

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enjoying an unbeatable view of the subarctic tundra from the cockpit of a helicopter

Having recently completed her Master’s thesis, Justine shares the results of her Birds and Windows project and discusses the factors having the largest affect on bird-window collisions at houses.

dkendall (06-11-2014) brown creeper

a brown creeper who survived a window collision

dkendall (12-06-14) cedar waxwing

a cedar waxwing who was less lucky

Be sure to check out both articles here! Both Justine and Anjolene will be attending the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society conference in Drumheller next month.

Wild Weather

Photo: Janet Ng.

Photo: Janet Ng.

Spring snow storms, tornado warnings, hail storms, and thunder storms are all part of field work. While we can take cover in our houses and trucks, Ferruginous Hawks are left out in the storm to fend for themselves.

It can get pretty rough out there. In fact, Ferruginous Hawk nests can actually blow right out of the tree, usually killing the eggs or young. Our nest monitoring program has found that 20% of nest failures are due to nests blow-outs and climate change scientists are worried that this will happen more often when storms become more frequent and more severe.

 

World’s Biggest Ferruginous Hawk Nest

FEHA nest sculpture in Leader, SK.  Photo: Janet Ng

FEHA nest sculpture in Leader, SK. Photo: Janet Ng

Some of our field work takes up to far flung places in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Leader, Saskatchewan has several claims-to-fame including nine Larger Than Life sculptures that are scattered through town.

Our favourite, of course, is the 15 foot Ferruginous Hawk nest that resides on main street.

FYI, they frown upon climbing into the nest.

Burrowing Owl family in Leader, SK.  Photo: Janet Ng

Burrowing Owl family in Leader, SK. Photo: Janet Ng

Birds and Windows Project

Birds face many threats when they come into contact with urban populations. One of the leading causes of avian mortality in cities is window collisions. In Canada it is estimated 25 million birds are killed each year as a result of bird window collisions.

The Birds and Windows Project was developed to use citizen science and active participation to continue to identify the factors that affect collision risk at residential homes.

Bird window collision evidence on the University of Alberta campus

Last fall Environment Canada released a report on the leading causes of human related bird deaths, with collisions with houses or buildings tied for second spot with power lines, collisions and electrocutions, behind  domestic and feral cats. Most studies on window collisions have focus on tall skyscrapers but based on the sheer number of houses compared to tall skyscrapers, houses represent 90 % of the mortality.  More work is needed; only four studies in the past have focused on bird window collision mortality at houses.

To better understand what can be done to reduce bird window collisions at your home, the University of Alberta has developed this project to actively involve YOU in data collection. We are asking you to think about bird window collisions you have observed in the past and would like you to regularly search around your residence for evidence of bird window collisions in the future.

This project is Canada wide and will be running at least until the end of 2014.

To get involved in the Birds and Windows Project, visit: birdswindows.biology.ualberta.ca.