¡Saludos amigos! Welcome again to another adventure with your friendly #efta intern, Christian Cortez! Wow, it’s amazing to think that it’s already May. It only feels like a week ago that I began working with the Bureau of Land Management at Yaquina Head. It’s been a busy and productive two months! I’ve gained a great deal of experience learning new things and I’m not even halfway through! The training for the internship has prepared me to identify shorebirds and collect data for research purposes. Working at Yaquina Head has allowed me to interact with a variety of people and inform them about the history of the area and the natural resources around us. Helping out with the education programs has given me the opportunity to open up the world of tide pools for school groups and learn the importance of interpretation. Setting up for World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) has also exercised my ability to manage and organize with other people as a team member to host an event for the public! For the city of Newport, WMBD falls on May 12, 2018. Along with the sunny forecast we also expect to see a good number of birds as they fly by for migration! I can’t believe its almost already here! I know that it will be a wonderful day, not just because our guests will learn about the importance of bird conservation, but also because our weeks of hard work will finally come to light for the good of the community! I would not be able to host the event myself without the amazing work of my fellow rangers at Yaquina Head!
Speaking about new experiences as an EFTA intern, this week I’ve done something new. Recently, many shorebirds have passed by in large numbers for their migration. I am aware that in the next couple of weeks, those numbers will begin to taper off as the the majority of our feathery friends would have flown past the Yaquina Bay. While monitoring shorebirds begins to slow down, it opens a new window for a different kind of monitoring for a different kind of bird: seabirds! More specifically, I’ll be monitoring cormorants and their nesting sites in the Lincoln County area! Oregon State University has a Seabird Oceanography Lab that keeps tabs on the local cormorants and their reproduction success. Just yesterday I got my first run through with the group on how they monitor cormorants nearby. It is a different kind of monitoring from the surveys that I conduct at Yaquina Bay with the shorebirds. Monitoring shorebirds and seabirds are similar in the aspect of looking for a specific group or species of birds, as well as having preset locations for monitoring. The difference not only lies in the different species of birds that we look out for, but also the nature or reason as to what the lab looks for. For my surveys, I am aware that some days I will see a multitude of shorebirds and other days will only have a handful. It can vary from day to day. For the cormorants, however, it’s expected to be somewhat similar everyday we monitor them because these birds are residential to the area. Aside from making the Lincoln County coast their home, they’ve also made several nests! The locations of these nests are important for the lab in terms of learning their habits for choosing ideal nesting locations, the area they inhabit, and the number of offpsring they will have. We check the spots the cormorants have favored for their nesting locations, including a small rocky island at Depoe Bay, various parts of Yaquina Head, and Yaquina Bridge. I have to say that I’m more than excited to be helping the lab out with their project! Spending a day with birds is a perfect day for me, and I know that I’ll have many more perfect days to come.