Sunday, August 10, 2008

AOU Meeting's Aftermath

The AOU meeting ended on Friday. During the week I attended dozens of fifteen-minute talks covering a range of species and scientific topics. Some talks were great, some are hard to remember, but all were useful. Here are ten things I learned from some of the better talks and posters:

1. Free-roaming cats are bad news for gray catbirds

2. Lead and trash are trouble for California condors

3. Wood thrushes can successfully defend their nests from blue jays

4. West Nile Virus is hammering sage grouse and coal bed methane drilling is helping the mosquitoes spread

5. Kirtland's warblers are doing well in their Upper Midwest breeding grounds and their Bahamanian wintering areas

6. Not all wildfire sites are good for black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers

7. Rusty blackbirds are essentially small wading birds that require shallow ponds where they forage on aquatic insects.

8. Warbling vireos can grasp cowbird eggs in their bill to eject them from their nests

9. Dickcissels can fledge up to 5 cowbird chicks from one nest!

10. I need to go to Sabino Canyon in southern Mexico to see military macaws

Though tired from the long week, Sarah and I decided to drive to Pacific City and spend the rest of the weekend at the beach. My in-laws' beach house is coming together nicely and will soon be fully operational.

The stairway to the loft has been assembled, so we can now take in views of haystack rock to the west,

and the Nestucca River to the east.

Around the house, a small family of deer roamed the streets

and monstrous manroot vines are growing prickly friuts, the only gourds native to the coast.
After a few days of doing little more than eating, napping, and beach walking I am now ready to get back to the data analyses and paper-writing.

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