Guest post by Maggie Chen
Time: 8am to 11amVocabulary:
· Raptor - Bird of prey that hunts for and feeds on other animals.
· Red winged blackbirds - Males have red and yellow shoulder badges. Males show off their colors to attract mate. Females are streaked and dark brownish all over.
· Northern Harrier - Males are white and gray. Females are brownish all over. We saw a female perched and a male flying around the area around her. From a distance, the bird is described as being “slim and long-tailed”.
· Alfalfa - Related to the pea plant and part of the legume family. Have a symbiotic relationship with Nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Protein rich plant. Can grow up to 1m tall (3 feet).
· Alfalfa weevil - In its young larvae stage, the weevil will feed on terminal buds of the alfalfa crop. In its larger larvae stage, the weevil will feed on the leaflets.
· Pellet (ornithology) - Undigested material that birds of prey regurgitate.
· Sweep nets – Common procedure for monitoring pest insects.
· Hedgerow – Rows of vegetation along the edge of the field that are used for encouraging pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
We did the following:
· Collect control (area with birds) and treatment (area without birds) samples of alfalfa.
· Set up exclosures in a newly planted tomato fields.
· Spent time watching birds to ID birds and observe their behavior.
· Look at raptor pellet that we found on top of the exclosure.
· We found the remains of a dead raptor near the entrance to the field. We don't know what killed it, but thought it might have been killed by one of the resident territorial raptors.
· Species diversity is calculated using the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index by looking at species abundance (distribution of species) and richness (number of species in a given area).
· Alfalfa weevils like to climb up to the top of the alfalfa crop to feed on the terminal buds.
· Birds sing to attract mate and to claim territory.
· Random sampling of alfalfa.
· Sampling with sweeping net – Swing net 180 degrees across the alfalfa. With a less vertical angle, strike the alfalfa quickly across.
· Investigating pellet from raptor – Opened up a 6cm pellet which had a dry texture to it. It was mostly colored dark gray with some whites. The pellet contained mostly white and gray fur. There was a small jaw about .5cm across, a pair of beetle wings and some unidentified bones.
· Setting a transect for bird counting. The bird IDers will walk 200m along edge of the field to count all birds that are seen and heard in the edge of the habitat. “They then return to the center of the transect and spend five minutes listening and scanning the field visually for birds, and then spend 5 minutes walking perpendicular to the edge, straight out into the field for 50m to flush birds that are foraging on the ground (get birds to fly out of vegetation).