Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2016 Research Day 1

Kicked off a fantastic research season today. Just to remind myself and anyone reading this blog the priorities are 

1. Wood Thrush (state funded - gotta do it) 
2. DNA barcoding (funded by Wilkes)
3. Grassland diversity and food webs (was funded by the state)

Ideally, I can work on two projects on once. For example, I'd like to get blood samples from thrushes and see, using DNA barcodes, if they are infected with blood parasites. We're also barcoding insects for the grassland sites. The main part of the Wood Thrush project is finding nests and monitoring them in an attempt to estimate reproductive success in different habitats. 

Today, we went to a farm that was converted from corn to a wildlife grassland (mostly warm season grasses) but he also mixed in some spruce trees (to sell as Christmas trees?) - anyways, wanted to get some birds for the food web study. The nine boxes had eggs or had a clutch that fledged so we searched the fields for nests. We found two active nests - one, a yellow warbler and the other a Black-billed Cuckoo. I was super-stoked because they're notoriously difficult to find.

Then we went to a wooded area with a boat launch near Shickshinny. There we heard a Wood Thrush and one of the crew found the nest within 10 minutes of me describing it. Crazy. Crazy good. 

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