I'm a herpetologist by training but a naturalist at heart. My masters thesis is looking into the Panamint alligator lizard, Elgaria panamintina. In particular I'm focusing on identifying its range and testing out a variety of novel techniques which may benefit the field of herpetology as a whole. I post things that interest me and often post updates on what I'm doing in the vertebrate museum, in the field, or in the lab.

 

rhamphotheca:

The results of the albatross reproductive success studies are in at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawai’i!  Between 2002 -2013 (except for 2010, for which data was not available) reproductive success in Midway Atoll plots averaged 64.9% for Laysan albatross, and 65.0% for black-footed albatross. The numbers for the winter of 2013-2014 were higher than average for Laysan (70.8%) and lower than average for black-footed (57.9%). Located on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, Midway Atoll is within the country’s largest conservation area, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is one the oldest atoll formations in the world and thanks to Service recovery efforts today, Midway Atoll provides nesting habitat for millions of seabirds: http://1.usa.gov/1p1UbuG.Photograph: Laysan albatross and chick, courtesy of the Friends of Midway Atoll NWR
(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

rhamphotheca:

The results of the albatross reproductive success studies are in at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawai’i!

Between 2002 -2013 (except for 2010, for which data was not available) reproductive success in Midway Atoll plots averaged 64.9% for Laysan albatross, and 65.0% for black-footed albatross. The numbers for the winter of 2013-2014 were higher than average for Laysan (70.8%) and lower than average for black-footed (57.9%).

Located on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, Midway Atoll is within the country’s largest conservation area, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is one the oldest atoll formations in the world and thanks to Service recovery efforts today, Midway Atoll provides nesting habitat for millions of seabirds: http://1.usa.gov/1p1UbuG.

Photograph: Laysan albatross and chick,
courtesy of the Friends of Midway Atoll NWR

(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Finally got around to processing some of the photos from the field site I visited for work last week and I learned four things:

1) I love this lens, after having shot with just a telephoto lens for the last year or so, a wide-angle type lens was really fun to work with.

2) my computer monitor at work has bad color settings… everything ended up a little too saturated. Oops, I kinda like it though.

3) Biologists really like to wear hats and sunglasses with program/company logos on them. 

4) My agency has cool looking hats in our standard nice brown color that I didn’t know existed until that trip. 

lotsofbirds:

Bare-faced Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides personatus)
Distribution: Central eastern Africa
IUCN Status: Least Concern
{ Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }
 (Photo by Tarique Sani // CC 2.0)

Lots of birds has lots of birds in the queue now… I wonder if the queue has a limit. I’ll probably hit it at some point in the next week or so.
There’s just too many cool looking birds out there.

lotsofbirds:

Bare-faced Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides personatus)

Distribution: Central eastern Africa

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }

 (Photo by Tarique Sani // CC 2.0)

Lots of birds has lots of birds in the queue now… I wonder if the queue has a limit. I’ll probably hit it at some point in the next week or so.

There’s just too many cool looking birds out there.

cacajao:

chicakitten:

Found this cutie today. I thought he was dead so i picked him up to take home to use his bones….but then i noticed he was breathing :( so i tried to make him comfortable but the poor thing died. I called him sammy :(

I wouldn’t recommend handling bats or their tissues, living or dead unless you’ve been vaccinated for rabies,

^ This. 

Don’t handle bats unless you’re vaccinated. Especially don’t handle bats lying out in the open with no evidence of a cause of death/injury, the odds are that bat is/was rabid (turn it in to your local regional health services organization… whoever tracks rabies for the area you’re in).

Also, always wear Personal Protective Equipment (disposable gloves at a bare minimum) when salvaging specimens, especially mammals. Sometimes its super inconvenient, but you don’t know if that roadkill critter was just unlucky or if it was moving slow/erratic because it was sick. Be especially wary of animals that look like they were ill or otherwise not in peak physical condition or animals found it strange places with no signs of trauma.

Zoonotic diseases are really tricky (most present with flu-like symptoms that rapidly turn nasty/lethal) and you need to be sure your doctor/family know what ones are in your area in case you suddenly fall ill. These diseases aren’t typically tested for, and the right diagnosis might not happen unless you let people know about your hobby/career working with dead wildlife. 

Whenever I think about zoonotics I always end up thinking about Eric York and how his death was potentially preventable if he had only worn PPE or gone to the doctor when he first felt sick. 

The dove hunter is at it again this year…

This guy shoots way too close to the houses (illegally close) and either has the worst aim ever or is taking way too many mourning doves. There’s only a small handful of collared doves in the area, but there’s oodles of mourning doves back there. 

Alas, unless he shoots someone I get to listen to him shoot about a hundred times a day for the next two weeks (as I am not going to hop my fence and go looking for a possible poacher/guy shooting a shotgun…  by far the worst advice any law enforcement person has ever given me as a general public person). 

dendroica:

Bird of the Week: Passenger Pigeon

September 1 marks 100 years since the last known Passenger Pigeon, known as Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time this species was the most numerous bird on earth, with a population of 3 to 5 billion birds.
These seemingly numberless flocks were considered an infinite resource and exploited so drastically that the species was driven to extinction in mere decades. A cautionary tale, the story of the Passenger Pigeon and other extinct bird species inspires our work and one of the main tenets of ABC’s efforts: to safeguard the rarest species.
This account of migrating Passenger Pigeons, by ornithologist and artist John James Audubon, expresses the vastness of the flocks:

“I dismounted … and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time, finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I traveled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse …”


(Read more: American Bird Conservancy)

dendroica:

Bird of the Week: Passenger Pigeon

September 1 marks 100 years since the last known Passenger Pigeon, known as Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time this species was the most numerous bird on earth, with a population of 3 to 5 billion birds.

These seemingly numberless flocks were considered an infinite resource and exploited so drastically that the species was driven to extinction in mere decades. A cautionary tale, the story of the Passenger Pigeon and other extinct bird species inspires our work and one of the main tenets of ABC’s efforts: to safeguard the rarest species.

This account of migrating Passenger Pigeons, by ornithologist and artist John James Audubon, expresses the vastness of the flocks:

“I dismounted … and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time, finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I traveled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse …”

(Read more: American Bird Conservancy)

We are told by economic moralists that to mourn the pigeon is mere ­nostalgia; that if the pigeoners had not done away with him, the farmers would ultimately have been obliged, in self-defense, to do so. Perhaps this is true, but perhaps it is also true that we did away with an idea, as well as a bird. It is one of the ironies of science that it discovers, ex post facto, a philosophical significance in what it has previously tossed into the dust-bin. The pigeon was no mere bird, he was a biological storm. He was the lightning that played between two biotic poles of intolerable intensity: the fat of the land and his own zest for living. Yearly the feathered tempest roared up, down, and across the continent, sucking up the laden fruits of forest and prairie, burning them in a travelling blast of life. Like any other chain-reaction, the pigeon could survive no diminution of his own furious intensity. Once the pigeoners had subtracted from his numbers, and once the settlers had chopped gaps in the continuity of his fuel, his flame guttered out with hardly a sputter or even a wisp of smoke.

It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.

David Attenborough (via ecosapienshow)

jadafitch:

Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius)
This September is the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.In the nineteenth century, the Passenger Pigeon was one of the most common birds in the world.  There are records of flocks that stretched a mile long and contained billions of birds.  By the early twentieth century though, they were nearly extinct.  After European settlers arrived, much of their habitat was destroyed, and they were exploited as an inexpensive food source.  By the time it was understood that the Passenger Pigeon needed protection, it was too late.  Martha, the very last one died one hundred years ago, on September 1st 1914.  The loss of this beautiful bird gained public’s attention, which resulted in many new conservation and protection law and practices. 

jadafitch:

Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius)

This September is the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.

In the nineteenth century, the Passenger Pigeon was one of the most common birds in the world.  There are records of flocks that stretched a mile long and contained billions of birds.  By the early twentieth century though, they were nearly extinct.  After European settlers arrived, much of their habitat was destroyed, and they were exploited as an inexpensive food source.  By the time it was understood that the Passenger Pigeon needed protection, it was too late.  Martha, the very last one died one hundred years ago, on September 1st 1914.  The loss of this beautiful bird gained public’s attention, which resulted in many new conservation and protection law and practices.