Rural Missouri - January 2014 - (Page 16)

For the birds O U T D O O R S Dana Ripper, right, introduces Ginny Frey of Washington, Mo., to one of the birds that frequents her feeders. Wild birds benefit from the work of the Missouri River Bird Observatory the feeders and note which birds return. "This gives us actual data on the habits of backyard birds," says Ethan, the observa* n a quiet city street in Washtory's assistant director. "Also, it's a great Marshall ington, Mo., four people work to way to connect people with birds." Backyard banding is just one of many stretch gossamer nets around a projects Ethan and Dana undertake backyard bird feeder. Their work with help from their paid assistants done, they retreat to a porch and wait for such as Alie and Nic and volunteers. the nets to do their jobs. On any given day, you can find them They wait. And wait. And wait some more. deep in a marsh on the trail of the elusive black The culprit is a Cooper's hawk, a known neighrail, stalking saw-whet owls late into the night, traborhood bully who likes to sit on the feeder and versing prairies listening for the boom of a prairie occasionally turn an unwary songbird into a puff chicken or monitoring the flight of migrants using of feathers. Warning calls go out from robins, nutthe Mississippi Flyway. hatches and chickadees, and the birds stay away. Five years ago, the couple grew weary of their Patience, it seems, is one of the chief requireconstant travels to parments for those working ticipate in research projects for the Missouri River Bird around the country. The Observatory. This day turns two moved to Marshall hopout to be a bust, with just ing to take a break. one tufted titmouse caught "Ethan and I did what in the nets. is very common in our Dana Ripper, Ethan Duke, field, which is to travel Alie Mayes and Nic Salick around a lot and work on take the lack of birds in other research projects for stride. It's all in a day's work universities and non-govfor these avian researchers. ernmental organizations," On this December day, says Dana, the observatory's they are at the home of director. "For instance, Russ and Ginny Frey, one of Ethan spent three seasons about 80 places where more with the University of Tenthan 1,500 birds have been nessee studying a bird called the cerulean warbler. I banded in the observatory's Backyard Banding prospent three years in Colorado with the Rocky Moungram. The idea is to capture birds that frequent the tain Bird Observatory." couple's feeders and affix them with brightly colored Settled in Marshall, some friends asked the plastic bands. researchers to help with an ornithology class at The Freys and others in the project then monitor O Above: Ethan Duke, assistant director of the Missouri River Bird Observatory, keeps watch for birds during one of the group's Backyard Banding projects. His extensive knowledge of bird songs is especially useful in identifying birds. Right: Tiny plastic bands in a variety of colors are affixed to the legs of birds to help homeowners track individual birds visiting their feeders. This information is shared with other researchers worldwide. 16 by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2014

Rural Missouri - January 2014
Contents
Comments
Columns
Healing on horses
Gut instinct
Out of the Way Eats
Outdoors
For the birds
Missouri Snapshots
Hearth and Home
The company behind the meter
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - January 2014

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