Archive for March, 2010
Here are a pair of videos showing the last flames and the results of a successful controlled burn conducted by my Ecology Class for a local landowner (and fellow Peacock) Jessie Pleggenkuhle.
Upper Iowa Students from both the Ecology and Wildlife Management Class have been conducting surveys for American Woodcock at the Volga River Recreational Area.
Woodcock may look like large sandpipers found in coastal areas, but these are upland birds that prefer thickets and forest edges. Unfortunately, American Woodcock numbers have been declining nationally, thus identifying where these birds occur and protecting their habitat is important. These birds are easy to survey in the spring because males perform spectacular courtship flights with an odd bubbling and twittering song produced partially by air moving over the wings. This display is usally preceded by a distinctive ‘peeent’ call.
Below is a link to the American Woodcocks call that the Wildlife Class recorded while surveying at Volga. The display begins with the ‘peeent’ call for a little over a minute. The bird then begins its courtship flight, which begins with the twittering song. The bird then flies out of microphone range for 30-40 seconds, but then drops from flight in a zigzag fashion while bubbling and twittering before finally landing on the ground to begin the display again.
During Wildlife Lab on Thursday March 18th, students were involved with a prescribed burn to help a local landowner convert his new pasture to native prarie habitat.
Prescribed fires are used to restore native prairies by removing weeds and initiating new vegetative growth. Native prairie habitat can benefit native Iowan wildlife species such as bobolinks, meadowlarks, grasshopper mice, badgers, and ornate box turtles.
Today in Wildlife Lab we practiced conducting radio-telemetry to identify the location of a transmitter. Several transmitters were randomly placed on campus and students had to use a receiver with an antenna to find the transmitters. This exercise will provide students the experience needed to monitor radio-transmitters in the field that are fitted to live animals.
We hope to begin trapping for wild pheasants in a couple of weeks and then fitting them with GPS/radio-transmitter units to monitor their movements in the field.
During the Spring II term of 2010, Dr. Aaron Haines will be teaching a course on Wildlife Management. This blog will serve as an update to all the activities Dr. Haines and his students will be doing during the course of the term. Check-in for updates on Pheasant trapping and radio-tracking, woodcock calls, monitoring nest predators, and surveying for frogs and toads.