Saturday, November 22, 2014

Do you have 5-10 minutes and internet access?

Be a citizen scientist! These 2 fun and interesting projects need your help.


© Project Nightjar
 
  Project Nightjar investigates how birds use camouflage and their surroundings to evade predators. See the world with the vision of a mongoose, monkey, or genet (a relative of cats and mongooses) and try to spot the camouflaged birds or their eggs. Are you fast enough to join the top 10? 







© Condor Watch










Condor Watch uses remote cameras to monitor condors for signs of lead poisoning. By identifying tagged individuals and recording feeding behavior, you can help researchers and possibly save a life of one of these amazing birds!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Parade of Plumage Challenge

The National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Biodiversity Institute, and the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates have teamed up to bring you the Parade of Plumage Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to get folks to identify birds in French artist Fran├žois Nicolas Martinet's bird engravings. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is currently displaying 98 of Martinet's engravings, many of which either lack species names, are misidentified, or have outdated names. Some of the world's leading ornithologists have identified these birds, and now its your turn!

To participate, visit this site: http://paradeofplumage.com/

Contest rules are available on the website. Fantastic prizes are available to those who identify all of the species correctly.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Board meeting

We will hold a board meeting this Thursday, November 20 at 6:30 pm. We will meet in room 227 of the Berry Center. Our board meetings are open to the public; if you are interested in the behind-the-scenes of the Laramie Audubon Society, feel free to join us.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Upcoming talk by Tim Banks

The last speaker for this fall is our very own Tim Banks. Please join us for his talk entitled "Sandhill Crane Natural History and Behavior (and More!)" next Wednesday, 19 November at the Berry Center auditorium. We will also hold board member elections during this meeting; if you are a member of the Laramie Audubon Society you can vote to confirm or oppose election or re-election of board members. If you can't attend the talk, you can vote online here.

Schedule of events
6:30 pm - Mingling and refreshments
7:00 pm - Election of board members
7:15 pm - Sandhill Crane program

Below, Tim gives us a sneak peek of his talk.

~~~

Sandhill Crane. Photo © Tim Banks.
Cranes are the stuff of magic, whose voices penetrate the atmosphere of the world's wilderness areas, from arctic tundra to the South African veld, and whose footprints have been left on the wetlands of the world for the past 60 million years or more. - Paul Johnsgard

Standing up to 46 inches tall and with a wingspan of six feet, a sandhill crane is an impressive bird. Put together 500,000 of them during the peak of spring migration in central Nebraska, and you have one of the most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles in North America. That alone may make a road trip to view these magnificent birds well worth the effort, but there is much, much more to their story.

For one thing, these birds have charisma! They dance, they bicker, they fight--sandhill cranes, like all cranes, are social and their interactions suggest that there is a lot more drama within the flock than you might imagine at first glance. The more you know about their behavior, the more fascinating these birds become.

The goal of this talk is to introduce you to some of "the rest of the story" of cranes in North America, to inspire you to take a trip to see them, and to  entertain you with amusing anecdotes about just how the speaker came to learn some of these things. You will learn, for example, how this guy contributed to a lifetime of fascination with cranes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Upcoming field trip: Raptors of the Laramie Plains

UPDATE: The raptor trip has been moved back a week due to inclement weather. Corrected dates included below.

Chad Olson will lead a field trip next Saturday, November 22. Chad will help us search the Laramie Plains for raptors and teach us about the natural history of the local species. This is a great trip for birders of all skill levels. If you aren't very familiar with the raptors around Laramie, don't worry--come on out and we'll help you strengthen your skills.

We will meet at Night Heron at 8:15 am. We should be back to Laramie by 12:30 pm. We try to carpool as much as possible, because this trip involves a lot of driving.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring water and snacks, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and dress for the worst weather.

This is our last field trip of the fall--hope to see you there!

Ferruginous Hawk. Photo © Shawn Billerman.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Upcoming talk by Beth Fitzpatrick

Our next fall speaker is Beth Fitzpatrick, a PhD candidate at the University of Wyoming who studies the effect of development on Greater Sage-Grouse. Please join us for her talk entitled "Using Science to Solve Problems: Planning Future Restoration for Long-term Persistence of a Species" this coming Wednesday, 29 October. The talk will begin at 7 pm at the Berry Center auditorium, but refreshments and mingling will start at 6:30 pm.

For a sneak peek, here is Beth's description of her work:
"This research focuses on the effect of development on genetic connectivity of Great Sage-Grouse leks. Leks are found at specific locations within sagebrush habitat and many habitat or landscape characteristics may influence those locations. Development is known to increase the likelihood of lek abandonment and has been associated with sage-grouse population declines. One process that helps breeding sites persist is dispersal of offspring to different lek sites. This can be assessed by measuring gene flow or connectivity between pairs of breeding sites. Certain habitat and landscape characteristics may also be associated with successful dispersal. Habitat and landscape characteristics found to influence connectivity of leks can then be used to predict how connectivity of leks might change with development or restoration of sagebrush habitat. This will allow both land managers and developers to make decisions on where to prioritize restoration efforts."

Beth's blog has more info on the project and great documentation of her adventures with sage-grouse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Upcoming field trip: Plains Lakes and Hutton NWR

Tim Banks will lead a second Hutton Lake NWR and Plains Lakes trip this Saturday, October 18th. There are tons of waterfowl on the lakes this time of year! There could be rare gulls, or jaegers! Meet at 8:00 am at Night Heron Books to caffeinate and carpool. This trip usually lasts until 1 or 2 pm, but feel free to join us for only part of the time--though you may need to drive your own vehicle.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring water and snacks, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and dress for the worst weather.