Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Are Field Studies?

Beautiful country fields, miles of tall grass in the middle of what feels like nowhere, and a hot 89 degrees in May doesn’t stop World Bird Sanctuary’s Adam Triska from doing his job.

Field Studies are an important part of the research the World Bird Sanctuary does. In fact, it is one of four ways we fulfill our mission statement.

What, you may ask, are field studies? In WBS’s case, Field studies can be defined as: a company (World Bird Sanctuary) which is contracted by another company (in our case Ameren Missouri) to see whether or not bird habitat is healthy.  WBS does this through various surveying techniques. 
 Power line stanchions 
From March through August 2012, Adam monitored 240 nest boxes on Ameren Missouri power line right-of-ways and recorded the birds’ success rates that nested in those boxes. The boxes are mounted on the power line stanchions.  You might be wondering what a stanchion is because I certainly did!  If you look at the photo above, you will see what might be a familiar site when you are driving on a highway--a big wide open space in the middle of nowhere with large structures holding up power lines.  Those structures are called stanchions.

On May 24th I got the chance to go along on a field studies trip.  Adam’s field study days are always to different places.  There are three lines and 240 nesting boxes that he looks after on a daily basis. 
 House Wren Eggs 
The day that I went with him we went to quite a few different spots and checked on some eggs he had seen the previous week.  This particular line of nesting boxes is a new line for this year’s study, near Robertsville, Missouri.
 Banding a baby House Wren 
The first place we went had the most birds of the day, with nesting House Wrens and Bluebirds. There happened to be three baby House Wrens just old enough to be banded.  Banding is something we do to start a record for that particular bird.  If the band is ever found again, data and circumstances can be compared and we learn something about that bird and probably that species.  It is the equivalent of applying a bracelet which is what you see being done in one of the other pictures.

 The opportunity to go out in the field and see this firsthand was a great experience. The work that World Bird Sanctuary does with field studies is very important to not only the bird’s habitat but the environment we live in.

Submitted by Kaitlin Conti, World Bird Sanctuary Intern

No comments: