The coming field season
I have been carefully reading your observations and for a while I was sanguine that the birds would renest—copulating on the nest site, working on the nest. However, we are now well past the May 6th date of the latest recorded nesting of eagles in Maine and the amount of time that the birds are spending at the nest is decreasing. If there was a 1 in a 100 chance of them renesting three weeks ago, we are now in the 1 in 10,000. Nature is hard to predict.
I am still working on our next camera installation and I very much hope that we will get it up and running shortly. Putting together these cameras is a lot like piecing together links in a chain—if just one link is broken then you have no image. The good news is that the looncam is up and running and we will have the live video up shortly. And this year we have two cameras.
I also wanted to report that BRI received funding to initiate a broad based contaminant study on birds in Maine. We will be looking at 102 contaminants (flame retardants (PBDEs), industrial chemicals (PFCs), organic pesticides (OCs), PCBs, and mercury) in 18 species of birds in six locations. This study will help us track how these contaminants are moving through different habitats, locations, and trophic levels (the position an organism hold in the food chain). As far as I am aware this is a first of its type study. Among the species that we will be studying are eagles, peregrine falcon, sharp-shinned hawk, great-horned owl, common loon, and belted kingfisher. I will not have results until the fall, but as soon as I do I will let you know.
I am also gearing up for a number of studies that will take me out to remote Maine islands for a week at a time. I will do my best to update the blog when I come out of the field and will work with my colleagues to update the blog when I am away from a computer.
Have a great weekend.
Wing Goodale, BioDiversity Research Institute