Saturday, 9 June 2007

out-witting thousands of years of evolution

So, tundra birds can't hide up in trees, or on cliff faces, nope, they're stuck with having their defenseless eggs and chicks on the exposed flat tundra, prey to Arctic Fox, Jaegers and humans. So, the adults have developed clever behaviours to distract, confuse and entice potential predators (and benevolent nest-searching scientists too) away from their nests: broken-wing acting; scurrying along trenches and popping on another ridge as if to say, "oh, look, we're over here!"; noisy fly-bys. It works, dammit. I'm having a hell of a time finding nests.

Once we find them, we monitoring them until they hatch, then band the bastards, getting site fidelity and population density estimates.

The Tundra is one of the few ecosystems that theorectically cannot "move" with climate change, squeezed out by the boreal forest and the eroding ocean coastline. Shorebirds, who migrate from literally around the world, are one of its victims.

Not much more to say: we bird, then we bird, bird, sleep, eat, bird, then talk about birding. You might think its boring, but somehow I have no time for anything else!

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