It’s been… 20 months (yikes) since my last post, and some stuff has changed! I’m back in the San Francisco Bay Area where the juncos look right – none of this slate-colored nonsense – and I now co-run a bird banding station.
We’re Coyote Creek Field Station, part of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. This is the place that generously trained me back in 2012 in preparation for my PhD field work with juncos. The bird banding station has been running continuously since 1987, which means that we have a long legacy to live up to and a very large dataset of measurements on banded birds to poke around in!
My colleagues and I are bird people, so even though we’ve got our bird in the hand, we’ve still got our eyes on those birds in the bush. We’ve got big plans for the future – some of which have already had their grant proposals denied, but hey, there’s always the next grant to hope for. We’re contributing data to other researchers’ projects on species including California Towhees and Common Yellowthroats. We’re trying to make the banding station better-suited to hosting visitors and school groups so we can share the birds with more people.
We’re putting up new, extra-tall nets to capture birds higher up.
We’re working on expanding to other habitats with different bird communities.
There’s more, but it’s theoretical until a grant comes through. And even without all these new endeavors, our core work – keeping the main banding station running, adding data to that 38-year dataset, and combing through it for answers – is important. Hopefully, all of this work should help us better understand how birds are doing in the Bay Area and why, and be able to share that information with more people.