By Science Director Nathan Van Schmidt
Last month, I spoke about SFBBO's research on phalaropes at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua in Lee Vining, California. Every year, conservationists with Mono Lake hold the Chautauqua as a special birding event with field trips and talks to celebrate the unique birds of Mono Lake and the eastern Sierras. This year was a particularly special event, hosting a "Phalarope Festival" to bring together scientists from across North and South America to host the first group meeting of an amazing collaboration we've built, the International Phalarope Working Group.
Phalaropes are very unique and understudied shorebirds. They're small like a sandpiper, but unlike sandpipers that forage by probing in the mud, they prefer to herd prey by swimming in tight circles. There are only three species, which are exclusively found in the Americas: the Wilson's Phalarope, the Red-necked Phalarope, and the Red Phalarope. While the Red Phalarope spends its time out at sea, the Wilson's Phalarope and the Red-necked Phalarope are even more unusual in that they specialize in hypersaline lakes. ...
By Guest Blogger Wendy Gibbons
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe," wrote the naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir in his 1911 book My First Summer in the Sierra. Muir’s eloquent expression of the central challenge of ecological research captures beautifully the daily work that comprises SFBBO’s bread and butter. The full depth and breadth of the organization’s mission can be challenging to describe in one web page, newsletter, or research article. For example, this spring, SFBBO scientists and volunteers contributed to local and national efforts to understand microplastics in avian diets, waterbird use of salt ponds, nesting behavior in raptors, and pollination by songbirds. Each warbler that our bird banders carefully swabbed for pollen, every phone call our biologists answered to share their knowledge, and each scientific paper our research teams contributed data to through meticulous weekly...
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact email@example.com.