Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 33: Chicks

While watching a chick flick (You've got mail!) with the girls here, I'm going to write about chicks, Hudsonian Godwit chicks! I was able to go out after dinner with the Godwit crew from Cornel to check out a nest they found today.

Introducing the field crew, from left to right: Hope, Hannah,
Madi, and Nate. Nate is the PhD student directing this study
on Godwits, another amazing shorebird. This one migrates
from northern arctic, such as Churchill, Manitoba or Beluga,
Alaska, to southern Argentina! He is putting light sensors on
the legs of these birds in order to determine where the birds are
based on the amount of daylight in that area. Pretty cool! So
what they are doing? They are running as fast as they can into
a wetland to scare the chicks into a central area so they can
capture them.

This is a male godwit attacking the team, squawking at them,
as they search through the watery sedge for the chicks.

This is the godwit attacking Hope who
just picked up a fuzzy godwit chick. She
survived by the way.

Once they got the chicks, they got out the mist net to catch the
parents. Hope is crouching while holding the two chicks they
were able to find and acting as bait for the parents. The chicks
peep for the parents to come find them, which the team uses as
a way to catch the parents. Basically, the parent will fly over
the chicks and the netters, Nate and Hannah, will lift the net at
the last minute to catch the adult. And then...

They drop the net over the bird and run at it from both sides
to keep it from escaping.

So these are the chicks! So cute! (Hope is holding them!)

And this is another alien abduction experience - id tagging,
banding, measured, prodded, clipped, radio tagged, bled to
get DNA... poor little guys.

This is Bill a professional photographer who has equipment
I've never even heard of before! He is taking pictures of the
chicks. He wanted them in their natural habitat, but they are
really hard to find in their natural habitat since they hide so
well. He settled for taking pictures of us holding them instead.

I held a baby godwit!!! It pooped on me,
but then they got a poop sample so it
was great! Notice the bug net, which I
actually unzipped for the picture, and
probably got a few bites for my trouble.
All was worth it!

Little baby running away.
A silver fox, a variant of the red fox, ran across the road while they
 were playing with the chicks. Madi had to run at it to scare it away.
They were afraid that it would find the chicks before they could,
which would have been tragic, but also nature.

The rest of the day was pretty normal, running blackbox and doing water samples and filtering. After dinner was definitely a lot of fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment