Essay Example on Black-Capped Chickadees








Problem Definition and Context Since 2012 there has been no consistent Black capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus banding in the University of Vermont’s Centennial Woods The original effort to band the species petered out without establishing a banding protocol or long term monitoring plan The Black capped Chickadee is a common curious species popular with birders Because the species is social populous and frequently found at feeders it is a simple study subject for collecting individual and population data Data collected at the individual level yields home range breeding status feeding habit and quantitative information Gustafson et al 1997 By studying the Centennial Woods population we will be able to make conclusions about survivorship nesting success emigration and immigration Long term monitoring as explained by Visser and Both 2005 is necessary to track population and species data in response to habitat degradation climate change fragmentation pollution and stochastic events like disease We have an opportunity to establish a protocol and monitoring plan for Black capped Chickadees as well as to gain a better understanding of the Centennial Woods natural area Additionally we will involve other students in the project by exposing them to birding banding re sighting and point count methods and by setting a precedent of student monitoring in Centennial Woods and UVM Natural Areas Study Site

This study will take place at 3 sites in Centennial Woods Burlington VT Sites are established where access is feasible and chickadees are known to be abundant One sunflower seed feeder is hung at each site They need to be placed about 8 feet off the ground so birds are easily visible to observers and away from low branches to minimize squirrel activity Extra sunflower seed will always be carried to refill feeders as needed Feeders will be cleaned once every three weeks Data Collection Observers will visit each site for 30 minutes 4 times a week Site visits will not occur more than 2 days apart so that feeders are not left up empty Site visits will occur between 7 00 AM and 5 00 PM and are not to occur during inclement weather rain snow extreme wind extreme heat Observers will record the number of all chickadees sighted color band codes of any banded chickadees time of day and the site number see attached datasheet Color bands are read from left leg to right leg top to bottom A question mark will be used to designate a color band that cannot be determined in the field Any other observable notes about individual chickadees will be recorded Banding In order to band birds an individual with a Master Bander Permit must be present Handling any animal also requires approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee IACUC Banding will begin in late March or early April depending on weather cold and inclement weather threaten the safety of birds

Mist nets will be open at each site for a maximum of 3 hours per week One mist net will be set at each site where birds are likely to be caught After opening a net banders will leave the immediate area to avoid impacting activity level Banders will return 10 minutes later to remove all birds from the net Birds are not to be left in the net for longer than this amount of time to prevent excess stress predation or mortality Unbanded Black capped Chickadees will be given a unique set of color bands Banders will record the band number color combination age sex how the sex is determined wear on feathers and tail net location and any other notes see attached datasheet Previously banded birds will be reported as a recapture the data recorded on previously banded Black capped Chickadees will include band number color combination age sex how the sex is determined wear on feathers and tail net location and any other notes All birds will be released at the site which they are captured If a band is lost or destroyed it will be recorded as Band Lost or Band Destroyed on the data sheet If a band on a previously banded bird looks to be damaged or intrusive to the bird it will be removed and or replaced and then noted on the datasheet If a bird escapes before being banded it will be recorded on a separate unbanded sheet If a bird escapes before complete data collection as much information is recorded as possible and it is recorded as an escape Other species captured besides Black capped Chickadees will be released Banders will be thoroughly trained on safety precautions regarding removing birds from mist nets holding birds banding birds and releasing birds Mortalities still may occur despite following all safety precautions If a bird dies before being banded it is recorded on the unbanded sheet If a bird dies after being banded it is recorded on the unbanded sheet and the band is removed The cause of death will also be noted

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