Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Laramie Christmas Bird Count to be Dec 15th

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT TO TAKE PART IN THE 113th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. The Laramie Audubon Society will again take part a 100-year-old Christmas tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers are welcome to join in the count with the LAS chapter as it conducts the Albany County Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 15. This will be the 36th count of the Albany County circle. Volunteers are needed to help count every bird present in the 15-mile diameter circle around Laramie on the day of the count. Novices are welcome, and will be paired with more experienced bird watchers. Volunteers can call ahead (307-286-1972) or meet at Coal Creek Coffee (110 E. Grand) at 7:30 am on the day of the count to get data forms and team assignments. Some teams walk, while others drive through the territory. Volunteers will reconvene at The Grounds Internet and Coffee Lounge (171 N. 3rd St.) at 12:00 pm to drop off morning reports and regroup for those continuing in the afternoon. Volunteers should wear warm, layered clothing and boots, and bring water, snacks and binoculars if you have them. Feeder watchers are also welcome. Volunteers are invited to a chili supper where results will be compiled beginning at 4 pm the home of Shay Howlin. Potluck items welcome, but not required. Please contact Shay Howlin if you would like to be assigned a route early, would like forms for feeder watching, or have any questions (307-286-1972; wolfhowlin [AT] gmail [dot] com).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Matt Hethcoat to speak on the effects of natural gas development on songbirds.

Research has shown that energy development in sagebrush habitats can have negative effects on songbirds. It is unclear, however, why the abundance of certain songbirds declines in areas of intensive development. Is it because disturbance and habitat fragmentation reduce the availability of food for these birds or is it because of an increase in generalist predators that are associated with human presence and prey on nests? Matt Hethcoat’s research tackles the second hypothesis and focuses on the effects of natural gas development on the predation rates of sagebrush-obligate songbird nests. He is working to identify what drives the predation patterns on songbird nests in sagebrush habitats affected by energy development. He also hopes to develop some strategies to reduce the impacts of energy development on songbirds. Come and find out more about energy development and songbirds on October 31, 2011. Refreshments start at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00 pm in the Berry Center (10th & Lewis) Auditorium.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Program

Laramie Audubon Society Program
Wednesday, October 31 (yes, it’s Halloween night)
UW Berry Center, 10th & Lewis Streets, entrance faces north
(free parking along 10th St, south side of Lewis and in UW lot—free after 5pm)

6:30 pm Bird Chat & Refreshments in the lobby
7:00pm  Program begins in the auditorium

Effects of natural gas development on predation rates of sagebrush-obligate songbird nests by Matt Hethcoat. Matt is an M.S. student in the Coop Unit. Originally from western New York, Matt received his B.S. from Humboldt State University in Wildlife biology. Since graduating from Humboldt Matt has worked on research projects around the world, including critically endangered Macaws in Bolivia, endangered Loggerhead Shrikes in California, Fairy-Wrens in Australia, and a montane bird community in Borneo.  These experiences have focused Matt's interests in conservation research and questions pertaining to the reconciliation of wildlife conservation and human livelihoods. Broadly, his other interests include avian ecology, ecological and evolutionary traps, life history evolution, predator-prey interactions, sexual selection, and signalling theory.  Matt's research focuses on the effects of natural gas development on predation rates of sagebrush-obligate songbird nests. We are working to identify specific mechanisms that are driving predation patterns and hope to offer clear strategies for mitigating the impacts to songbirds breeding in habitats affected by energy development activities.