Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Opportunity for Citizen Scientists on Wind Farms

Forward Energy Wind Farm & Wildlife:
Investigating the Impact ofWind Turbines on
Migrating Birds & Bats
Hourly Pay - $10/HR
When: July 15 - November 15
Responsibilities will include:
• Dedicate at least 1 morning per week (Approx. 4 Month Duration)
• Visiting and searching turbines located across southern Fond Du Lac and northern
Dodge Counties (with specific, assigned routes to minimize travel time)
• Arrive at first turbine site approximately 15-30 minutes before dawn
• Search within designated transects and collect dead birds and bats
• Time commitment per morning ranges between 1-3hrs, depending upon site(s)
and total drive time
• Preference given towards those who can provide own transportation (mileage
reimbursement available)
• Training and necessary equipment provided; great opportunity to participate in
an interesting and valuable study
Contact Steven Grodsky for more information:
Graduate Research Assistant: UW - Madison
Department of Forestry andWildlife Ecology
Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison,WI 53706
Phone Number: 973-222-7380

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News from County Line Lake (Sawyer Co)

This message was sent to LoonWatch from Cathy Gagliardi:

It is with great sadness to bring you this update, as our nesting pair of Loons have abandoned their 2 eggs. Something must have totally spooked her as she left the nest and never went back.
Our neighbors were at our cabin over the 4th (while we were in CO) and told us they saw both Loons out in front of our cabin on Sunday (6th) and then last Thurs (10th) when I arrived, I saw both of them too.
Friday morning, there were 3 Loons out front and we had a feeling something was clearly wrong so we ventured back into her bay on Sat. - sure enough, there lay 2 completely intact eggs but hot to the touch and they stunk badly. I can imagine being exposed to the elements for that long had some serious affects.

With our lake down, she had gotten so creative with her nest and constructed a mud platform on one of the bogs in the back bay. The edges of the nest were higher than the bowl so her eggs could never roll out and she was surrounded by water and weeds. If the time-table was correct for incubating (around 28 days) those eggs were due to hatch this past week so all she had to do was stay for a couple more days but something must have happened.

The timid loons don’t easily tolerate close disturbances from curious onlookers in boats and canoes, and a Loon frightened from its nest exposes the eggs to predators that constantly watch for opportunity, or exposes the eggs to the baking hot sun. However, if frightened too many times (or so badly) they will abandon their nest so this is very disheartening that this could be exactly what happened. If she was spooked by some form of wildlife I suspect I would have found egg shells or no eggs at all.
The "Stay Back" sign was put in place and I believe all of us have been so diligent about not disturbing her but this might be a good reminder to be sure to let our guests & children know this too. Post a sign on your fridge or somewhere...but we need to get this word out during nesting season. The Loons give their tremolo call when stressed or scared, so if it's not a soaring Eagle that they are stressed about, it most likely is us humans.

On a good note, while back in the Loon bay, I observed a pair of Sandhill Cranes....WOW, they are huge and I believe this is a first-time-ever for this specie to pick our lake for nesting. I did not see any chicks although I was sure hoping there might be one or two in between them when I took a few pictures but when I downloaded them and zoomed in, all I see is Ma & Pa.

I regret taking down the "Stay Back" Loon sign now, due to this specie being as skittish as our Loons - so please everyone, let's all stay back from that Loon/Sandhill bay and hopefully our Cranes will have a successful nest.

I hope this finds all of you well and I'll post some pics on our website soon.

Great News for Boreal Birds...including Loons!

This week Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a landmark commitment to protect 225,000 square kilometers – 55 million acres – of Boreal Forest in the northern area of that province. This move will protect the habitat for as many as 300 million Boreal birds - most of which migrate across the U.S. and are greatly appreciated by millions of Western Hemisphere birders.
McGuinty's pledge is exactly what the fairly new "Boreal Songbird Initiative" has consistently advocated to Canadian government leaders. Premier McGuinty's pledge also reforms Ontario's Mining Act; implements new land use planning; and accommodates First Nations' interests.
In addition to being the essential breeding area for enormous numbers of birds, Canada's Boreal Forest is an important carbon sink that helps mitigate the effects of global warming; is a refuge for some of the world's largest herds of caribou, plus grizzlies, and wolves; and a vital Aboriginal home land. It is inspiring to see a Canadian leader with the foresight and conviction to protect this vast and unique natural resource. Wouldn't it be a welcome change to see similar leadership in the U.S.?
You can learn about the Boreal Songbird Initiative here: .

The Senior Scientist for BSI is Jeff Wells, formerly head of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program in the U.S. Jeff has recently published a very important book that may be of interest to bird lovers - Birder's Conservation Handbook - 100 North American Birds at Risk. As the name implies, this detailed and well-written reference summarizes population information and threats for many, if not all of the most seriously at-risk species across the entire continent.