Last day of work for week 1!

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May 8th 2010
Published: May 8th 2010
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Today started off with a sleep in until 7am! We were all thrilled to be able to wake up so late. We did nest checks at the Unit 4 site this morning, which was pretty fun and easy. We had done nest box checks for the site on Monday and found a nest of newly hatched bluebirds. Today we checked on them to see how they were doing. It was neat to see how much they have grown and stronger they have become. We practiced handling them as we are to handle the swallow chicks. We also found a swallow nest with two new eggs and learned how to label them.

The rest of the day was all learning data entry and protocols, with one exception. At two o'clock, "Wink" (David Winkler), who is the head of the Golo project and the ornithology professor at Cornell, gave us a private tour of the Lab's taxidermy collection, which is housed in huge collection cabinets. He said it's not as big as the ones at the American Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian, but that it has a lot of variety and some rare specimens.

For an hour we would
Nest BoxesNest BoxesNest Boxes

Unit 4's boxes are on both sides of two very long country roads.
name a species we wanted to see and he would go to the correct area and pull out the drawer with the bird (if it was in the collection) and, if it wasn't too big, he would hold it up. I got to see some pretty cool birds up close.

Later we walked to a neat local organic store called Ludgate Farms. It didn't have a floor or proper roof and sold a lot of locally produced goods. One person bought unpasturized cheese. We bought chocolate covered sunflower seeds and apple cider. There was 11 pound dark chocolate bar selling for $50! There were also really neat bulk chocolates selling for $10 a pound!

In the evening we relaxed and watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but I was so tired I went to bed around 9:30.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Bluebird NestBluebird Nest
Bluebird Nest

Four six-day old baby birds!
Holding Baby BluebirdHolding Baby Bluebird
Holding Baby Bluebird

It was so cute in an ugly way!
Labelling a Swallow EggLabelling a Swallow Egg
Labelling a Swallow Egg

They are so tiny and fragile. Lauren said it's inevitable we will break some.
Pileated WoodpeckerPileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Welcoming us to the taxidermy collection
Two Extinct BirdsTwo Extinct Birds
Two Extinct Birds

The Passenger Pigeon (left) and the Eskimo Curlew (right)
Ivory BIlled WoodpeckerIvory BIlled Woodpecker
Ivory BIlled Woodpecker

Wink said the controversial last sighting of one in Arkansas was from some of his students, so he believes that there are a few left out there scattered over a wide range.

Critically endangered flightless parrot from New Zealand.
Bird of ParadiseBird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise

Those two circles on Wink's hand are feathers!

8th May 2010

Hi there from home!
Hi Rebecca, Wow!!! It all looks so interesting. The little bird in your hand was so ugly but so sweet! How are they growing and their mom feeding them OK? Did you buy that chocolate at the market? Are you working this weekend or is there free time? The backgound looks so pretty. It is so nice to be able to share some sense of it with you. Thanks and love, Mama
8th May 2010

I stumbled upon your blog by accident, but was pleased to see a blog from Ithica, NY! I enjoyed reading about the birds, and the shop with all the chocolate! My blog is looking for travel tips (like ways to help the birds! ;) , photos, etc, to share. If you have the time, check it out at, or email us at Continued fun on your travels! Heather :)
12th May 2010

Are you talking about Poppins or that blue bird chick?
I think I am in love with that girl holding the Blue bird... What is her name? I am a bit confused about the bird of paradise, why are the feathers attached to a wire? Do they actually come out the back of the bird like that or is it a sample of the under plumage. They are training you pretty good. I am soooooo happppyyyyy for you!!!! Bye BBAR!
13th May 2010

The feathers are aren't on a wire, that's just the way they grow. Birds of Paradise are known for really crazily evolved feathers and displays for mating. Look them up on youtube to see their mating rituals!

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