Hello, friends! Today, I thought we would do something different and turn the gaze off of our beautiful city and see what’s going on in the news. In order to be a good citizen scientist, you must be hungry for knowledge. Thanks to the internet, all these stories are right at our fingertips. I love it when technology and nature work together!
This article from Madison.com shares the story of Kirtland’s warblers, a federally endangered songbird. This is restoration at its finest! Through careful monitoring by the DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and helpful volunteers, a reliable bird count was able to happen. They have also been bringing back the natural habitat to encourage the warblers to move back in. How do they successfully count adult birds? I’ll give you this quote from the article:
“He and other volunteers are trying to get GPS readings to find out the approximate location of the territories of the birds that do not yet have bands. In coming weeks, DNR and USFWS staff and volunteers will set “mist nets” near the birds’ territory, run recordings of the female birds, and hope to draw amorous males into the nets where they will be quickly banded, their information recorded, and then released.”
Banding? Mist nets? I’m sure you’re wondering what those are! Well, you’re in luck. Our good friend Larry Bennett from Beaver Creek Reserve came to the Nature Academy to talk to the students about banding. Larry is the man who built all of our wonderful nest boxes, and is a constant source of knowledge for us at the Bluebird Restoration Project. Next week, we’ll be doing a post about Larry and his banding experience, and we’ll explain what a “mist net” is!
Turns out, we’re more like the birds than we thought. This fascinating article from the Journal Sentinel covers a study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Monkeys and apes are born with a set of vocalizations, but birds? Many of them learn from their parents, just like human babies do. This article talks about finches, and how they have a “babbling” stage like our toddlers. The scientists even did brain scans on the bird to see what part was being used when they learned. Wow! I love how knowledge brings us closer together.
We love art here at the BRP, and we found this amazing piece of art created with “580 hand-dyed & woven paper yarn,” and it is 12.5 meters high. Starting with purple, the “birds” blend into blue as they reach the ceiling. Breathtaking. Even though the “birds” are just squares of woven material, they really remind you of birds in flight. There is a small gallery of images when you click on the title above. I wish I could have seen it!
I’ll share with you one more piece of art made by our students at the Nature Academy. A young boy was asked to draw the meaning of the word “prey” and this is what he gave us. They are so imaginative. I love the “scared” beetle!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Enjoy the summer while it lasts. If you find any other exciting articles about birds in the news, share them below. We would love to see them!