We organized another wildlife track and sign identification course with renown wildlife specialist Casey McFarland on April 9th and 10th. He will be in the area this summer and would like to do more courses, so get on our wait list and I’ll keep you posted.
Here is some feedback from a couple of the latest participants:
From Michael Cox ~ The weekend was terrific! Casey taught me a new way of looking at the natural world. It was like suddenly realizing that you’ve been living in the dark and having the light turned on. It was intimidating and challenging but I’d do it again next weekend if I could, and I hope that Casey does another session sometime soon.
I am interested in your project, but I should tel you that I only received a 68 in the course, and reached some astoundingly stupid conclusions, so I’m not sure how much help I could be. So please alert me when you go out next time.
PS- Thanks for the heads up on the course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
and from Sarah and Matt Fontaine ~Hi Peter,
Matt and I both thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and got so much out of it! I have been looking at tracks, and books of tracks, for a while… it was so satisfying to have someone with extensive knowledge to give hard facts to what had previously been questionable deduction. And Casey showed us animal sign that I would have walked right past, not knowing what to look for. We also appreciate the style of teaching: having us try to figure out what a track/sign is using whatever knowledge and common sense we have, before just telling us. That really gets one looking around, analyzing the surroundings, asking questions like ‘who would live here?’ or ‘what size animal would make that scat?’
We are interested in volunteering for the Pathways monitoring program, do keep us posted!
The article last Monday in the ABQ Journal confused the number of years this study has been going, giving this data more credit than it currently deserves. This is the first year of the study in the Sandia Mts., while it has been going for three years in other mountain ranges of NM. The article stated that this the third year in the Sandias as well, but that just isn’t true. I’ve been participating in this study, along with 9 other groups/agencies, and the data is just now coming in for our first year (2014).
This is important because for Game and Fish to increase the bear hunt in the Sandia Mts. based on one year’s worth of data is just wrong.
Read the Journal article here: Bear-kill boost upsets critics | Albuquerque Journal News.
Amazing, simply amazing. The confluence between research science, technology, and volunteers on a massive scale yield these, I’ll say it again, amazing, heat maps of bird migration: Forecasts : BirdCast.
Without waiting for years of study to become published, and then instantly become irrelevant, this “real time” network of volunteers and bird scientists have been putting together easily readable maps and graphs that show how bird migration not only shapes up for this season, week by week, even day by day, but how it compares to other years at the same time.
To say that bird migration depends on the weather is an understatement, birds must follow weather patterns in order to move the distances they need to arrive at feeding and breeding grounds just in time to continue their life cycle. When those patterns are too early, birds can “hold on” to their current position to avoid being swept away to an area that is still too cold or dormant. When the wind and weather is too late, birds may be stranded in inhospitable locations. Even more complicated is when the seasons get mixed up, as in New England this spring, with winter and summer alternating rapidly, too cold, too hot, with “just right” fleeting fast away.
If you want a graphic example, in real time, of life trying to adapt to a rapidly changing climate regime, the heat maps of e-bird are a good place to look.
This weekend Pathways will be helping with another wildlife track and sign course with professional tracker,
Casey McFarland. Read some of the history of this course here: History | Tracker Certification.
There is still room for a couple more people, so contact Casey directly; email: firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of this great opportunity to see another side of animal, bird and insect life here in NM.
Caren Cooper wrote this great article on the benefits of Citizen Science for the Public Library of Science (PLOS):
Today we’re doing a presentation of our current projects, past achievements and future plans, and since its such a nice day, we’ll spend some time outside with the local wildlife tracks of coyote, cottontail rabbit, bobcat and deer.
See the flyer here for details:
GBBC eNews: 103 Countries, 25.5 Million Birds.
Read the record setting news (link above) from the Great Backyard Bird Count. Thanks for participating New Mexico!