With the shorebird festival rapidly approaching and a bunch of field work creeping up right behind it, the Forest Service is buzzing with activity! New faces are arriving everyday as the office and the town starts to come alive for the summer. The fishermen, cannery workers, scientists, tourists, and others coming to Cordova give the town a whole new feel. It’s been one other person besides me living in the compound so far but both bunkhouses will fill up as temps, interns, and techs all start pouring in.
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Not only are people coming in, but all the animals that migrate up here are slowly arriving. Let’s not forget why we’re all here at this blog: Birds! All kinds of new sounds fill the air and it’s such a change from the past couple of weeks. Every so often it will stop raining and the clouds will part for some great birding opportunities around town. Hummingbirds are starting to return to Alaska and many of the locals are putting up their feeders. I was even inspired to put up my own feeder at the bunkhouse to remedy my shorebird blues! Kate McLaughlin is a local resident who runs the Alaska Hummingbird project, the northernmost hummingbird banding station in the world, and I wanted to see these birds up close – what better way than to help out banding, right? This past weekend was the first time she was going to be capturing them and I made it out to the occasion. Just as I was leaving the house that morning, I glanced over to my awesomely positioned feeder and I catch (at least!) three birds buzzing around it! I don’t think anyone has ever set up a feeder at the bunkhouse and I was amazed to see that many hummingbirds had found my feeder already. Anyways, that day we were able to band 2 birds before the weather started getting rough. Measurements such as bill length and weight were taken before having a band placed on them. The birds sometimes put up a fight, but they also played dead. After they were ready to be released, a small gust or a slight tap would cause them to awaken from their fake deaths and they would zip away! It was interesting to be part of the process and I look forward to making it out there as more arrive.
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As for shorebird festival, I have been super busy planning away at several projects. The festival takes up much of the first week of May and birders from around the world come to see the massive flocks of shorebirds that move through the Copper River Delta. From working with youth to encouraging the community to join in on the festivities, this internship has me all over the place. I connected with elementary school children, high schoolers, and even preschoolers to help raise awareness about shorebirds and the cool things happening around town during the festival. Christine (See post #02) is coming in for the festival and I have been working with her to plan events in coordination with the Forest Service, the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, and Prince William Sound Science Center. I have also been part of the shorebird festival committee and have been tasked with some more projects, such as creating a photo contest to encourage people to take pictures during the festival. But wait, there’s more! All the while I can’t forget I need to plan and execute my shorebird surveys – phew, if only there was more daylight to get everything done… There’s already 16 hours but that isn’t enough! Who needs sleep?! Food? Not me! Pass the coffee pot! Pour some espresso shots! Birds! Meetings! Training! Emails! Webinars! Surveys! Blogs!… Eating? Sleeping? Birds? Birds! Ahhh!
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“A well a everybody’s heard about the bird
b-b-b-bird bird bird b-bird’s the word
a well a bird bird bird b-bird’s the word
a well a bird bird bird b-bird’s the word
a well a don’t you know about the bird
well everybody’s talking about the bird”
– The Trashmen

Categories: 2017 Interns

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