Nest Box Monitoring & Calcium Consumption in Western Bluebirds
WFO StudenT Lara • January 8, 2021
WFO Student Birder, Lara, age 13, told us about her research monitoring nest boxes and calcium consumption during the nesting season. Lara collects valuable nesting data on each nest box, including the reproductive success of the birds.
Like most birds, the Western Bluebird population depends in part on the weather, predators, and the availability of food. It is also directly affected by the availability of and competition for nesting sites. Installation of nest boxes has helped increase Western Bluebird populations. Bluebird nest box monitoring is not an easy project, but when done correctly, it can benefit birds and can be an incredible learning experience.
Thank you Lara for telling us the results of your Western Bluebird research project. It was a fun and educational time!
Go to the presentation video.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
Meredith McBurne & SANTIAGO TABARES • DECember 4, 2020
Meredith McBurney, and banding station volunteer and WFO Student Member, Santiago Tabares spoke to WFO students about bird banding and its role in ornithology and bird conservation.
Meredith and Santi presented what happens at a bird banding station, what data are collected, and how it is used. Recent advances in science and technology are allowing scientists to use bird “banding” and remote sensing to expand what we can learn about birds.
Go to the presentation video.
Listen to her Sing!
Nathan Pieplow • November 6, 2020
Only male birds sing, right? Wrong! In fact, this widespread notion has a lot more to do with human cultural and geographic biases than it has to do with nature.
Nathan Pieplow, author of the renowned and invaluable The Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds, told us about the often-overlooked songs of female birds.
Flight Calls of Red Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks
Lance Benner • October 2, 2020
Red Crossbills are finches with beaks that cross at the tips. In North America they have been classified into eleven types based on their flight calls and one, the Cassia crossbill, has been split into a different species. Evening Grosbeaks are finches with large beaks that have been classified into five populations based on their flight calls and geographic distributions.
Lance spoke about the biology and adaptations of Red Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks and provided recordings and sonograms to demonstrate how to identify their flight calls.
How do Birds Molt their Feathers, and Why Does it Matter?
Ryan Terrill, PhD • September 4, 2020
Feathers are a key innovation for birds because they provide many different functions. Feather replacement strategies must balance the immediate needs for feathers with loss of function during molt.
Ryan discussed his research on the evolutionary patterns and exogenous drivers of the diversity of molt strategies in birds.
The California Condor
Teodelina Martelli • August 7, 2020
With a wingspan of nearly 10 feet and weighing up to 25 pounds, the California Condor is the largest land bird in North America. Condors once ranged from California to Florida and Western Canada to Mexico. However, their populations declined dramatically in the mid-20th century, largely due to lead ammunition.
Teodelina told the story of their amazing recovery driven by efforts from the US Fish and Wildlife Society’s California Condor Recovery Program.
WFO Student Birders
July 3, 2020
WFO Students shared their best bird photography, sketches, art and field notebooks with each other. (Photos by Alex, Aaron, and Calvin; illustrations by Lily and Polly.)
The White-Crowned Sparrow
June 6, 2020
Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett talked about White-crowned Sparrows (ZONOTRICHIA LEUCOPHRYS and the various subspecies of White-crowned Sparrow, their characteristics, and the prospect of future splits into separate species.