Monday, March 21, 2016

Upcoming talk: Hummingbirds by Holly Ernest

Photos courtesy of Holly Ernest.
On Wednesday, March 30, Dr. Holly Ernest will give a talk entitled Hummingbird Health Program in Wyoming and Colorado--DNA, disease, field research, and how you can help! As usual, we meet in the Berry Center; bird chat with refreshments will start at 6:30 pm, and the talk will begin at 7:00 pm. 

Hummingbirds provide vital ecological functions, including pollination and eating insects. As ecosystem sentinels, as they travel among flowers and prey on thousands of tiny insects, they can also tell us a lot about the health of the environment. Even more special is that they are stunningly beautiful birds, with bright iridescent colors. We need to learn their population numbers, biology, and health status in order to better conserve them. There are currently very little information on their diseases, population health, genetic diversity and population structure for the hummingbird species breeding and migrating through Wyoming, Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain region, and the Hummingbird Health Program is helping to change that.

Dr. Holly Ernest will talk about the Hummingbird Health Program at University of Wyoming, her team’s research studies in the field and in the DNA lab, and how members of the interested public can help. She will have a demonstration of the field equipment they use to gently capture, examine, measure, sample, then release these special tiny birds that weigh less than a US nickel. Check out their work at and click on the hummingbird.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Upcoming field trip: Plains Lakes

Great-tailed Grackle
Update: This trip is still happening despite the weather!

This Saturday, March 26 we will head out to the Plains Lakes for some spring birding. Shawn Billerman will lead the search for waterfowl and other early spring migrants. This is a great opportunity to learn duck identification and visit some of the best birding spots in the Laramie Plains. We usually stop by Blake's Pond, Meeboer Lake, Gelatt Marsh, and Lake Hattie.

Meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am to caffeinate and carpool. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. We should be back in Laramie around noon, but if you drive yourself you are free to join us for any length of time.
Lake Hattie. Photo by Libby Megna.