Saturday, September 15, 2012

Field Studies Report – June 2012

The month of June was very hot and at times humid, but this didn’t stop the birds! 
The blistering heat meant we were out in the field early
This last month I had the delight of having the WBS interns out with me to help with the study.  The interns got to see most of the developmental stages of the offspring, and even helped with banding some birds.  The second clutches, or second nesting cycle, of the season are wrapping up and the season is more than halfway over!

The weather this month has been the biggest battle thus far in the study, but early start times and plenty of water has given some relief.  In the weeks to come it will be interesting to see the impact that the heat and the lack of rain will cause to the survival rate of the offspring in the study.  With this said we still had a fairly productive June.

Having the interns out helping with the study really made a lasting impact on them, as well as me.  It was great to experience the joy of teaching and watching them band birds.  We accomplished more than just banding birds though; there were many encounters with the local area wildlife, conversations with landowners, and back breaking hikes.  In all I think that all of them walked away with a good idea of what this part of WBS field studies is about.

In the study this month there were 42 active Eastern Blue Bird and House Wren nests.  In total 193 eggs were counted and 123 of the eggs hatched.  For the month of June we ended up banding 95 birds, and 115 fledged.  The fatality numbers have increased this month largely in part to snakes preying upon the nests.  There were 6 nests raided and around 20 eggs/babies were lost.  There are many predators of baby birds and it can only be expected that some will fall victim to predators.

Now that July is here we are in the beginning of the home stretch!  The study for this year will be over on August 15, so yes, we’re almost there!

Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

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