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Archive for June 13th, 2017

This week Ravin and I have been joined by Camille, who is an undergrad from University of Florida and a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar for the Main Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge this summer.

Thursday was our first day trapping terns and it has been really exciting!  After weeks observing them from the blinds, we are so happy to finally be handling them.  Terns handle a bit different from the passerines I am used to because their wings, tails and beaks are so long.  I also got to band my first tern today with hopefully more to come in the coming weeks!

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Ravin measures an Arctic tern wing (256mm)

This week, we have started setting up our productivity plots for the season.  We are currently putting fencing around a small sample of nests that will allow us to estimate probability of chick survival.  They basically act as a playpen for the baby terns so that we can watch them and they won’t wander off into the colony where they could get lost in the chicks that we aren’t monitoring.

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Camille and Ravin stake down some fencing for a productivity plot

As we get further into the season, the terns get more aggressive towards us so we have been making sure to wear hats into the colony.  Though this keeps us from being pooped on, it doesn’t protect us from dive bomb attacks.  Terns will hit the tallest point that they see (which is usually the back of the head), so we have started taping flags to our hats to protect our heads.  Getting hit isn’t that bad, but it can certainly be a bit surprising.

Stay tuned for tern chicks, black guillemot eggs and more dive bomb attacks!

 

-Aya

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