Chick banding week!

I’m blogging from Appledore Island this week where an intrepid team of gull banders is making its way across the island, capturing every gull chick in view.   We have an outstanding group this year including some old pros:  Bill Clark, Justin Stilwell (soon-to-be veterinary student at Univ of Florida) and Dr. David Bonter; former and current gull research interns, Luke deFisher (Cornell), Shailee Shah (Cornell), Michelle Moglia (Cornell); and, some new new folks who describe their reasons for joining the team below.

Kayla Garcia: I am a senior at Cornell University studying Natural Resources.  I have always been interested in wildlife and ecology, and enjoyed taking Dr. Bonter’s Field Methods in Bird Banding class at Cornell last year. That class encouraged me to also take Field Ornithology at Shoals Marine Lab this summer. Additionally, I am out here at Shoals conducting my own independent research on juvenile lobsters.  Because I would be on Appledore for the summer, Dr. Bonter asked if I would be available to help out with banding too. Being able to both work with lobsters and band gulls has been a great opportunity for me to gain more field experience working with two very different kinds of organisms.

Galina Kinsella: I’m going to be a sophomore Zoology major at the University of New Hampshire. I took the Field Ornithology course at Shoals in May 2012 which is how I got involved with many people on the team. I am currently an Animal Care intern at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, and I work with many animals from alligators to otters. I aspire to be a veterinarian, but am not sure what animals I’d like to work with yet. I try to take any opportunity I can get for hands-on learning experience, which is why I signed up for chick banding. This will also help me figure out which animals I want to work with in the future (and I had fun in Field Ornithology in May)!

Michelle Lapointe: I am a rising Junior and Biology major at Tufts University. My first experience with animal research came last semester studying the stress physiology of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) with Professor Michael Romero of the Tufts University Biology Department. I am now eager to push myself further as a scientist by taking on the challenges of Appledore Island and learning from this invaluable lesson in field research and animal handling. As a pre-vet student, I am especially excited about this opportunity to expand my knowledge of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. My interest in these birds first began during my internship at the New England Wildlife Center and I cannot wait to learn more about these unique species as I work with Dr. Ellis and her team. I simply hope that I can contribute as much to this valuable study as I know it will give to me.

Stephen Kloiber (East Strousburg University, PA): I have been interested in birds for all of my life and I became interested in banding birds when Darryl Speicher did a bird banding demo at the Northampton county envirothon competition a few years ago. He invited me to come and watch them band at his MAPS station at the Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary afterwards and  I’ve gone banding with him since then. He told me about the banders on Appledore Island wanting help with gull banding and I thought it would be something interesting to do considering I like banding songbirds and would like to be licensed to band everything at some point.

Caleb Arellano: I’m a rising senior studying biological sciences at Cornell University. Currently, I’m looking at the effects hatch order has on Osprey brood sex-ratios for my senior honor’s thesis in Irby Lovette’s lab at the Lab of Ornithology. I took Dr. David Bonter’s Field Methods in Bird Banding course and really enjoyed it. I’ve really wanted to continue banding over the summer, and banding gulls seemed like a perfect opportunity to get more banding experience!

The banding team on the porch of PK hard at work.

What a great team to work with!! They’ve been getting up at 5AM every day and working in hot, humid conditions while being attacked by biting flies and crapped on by gulls.  Not exactly glamorous work.  Thanks for your hard work this week!

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