Logistics by fionan

VIEWS: 137 PAGES: 7

									Techniques and Jobs
The work conducted in Arizona has 5 major foci. 1) Nest-finding and monitoring - The main study that has been ongoing for the last 20 years is one that focuses on finding and monitoring success of nests of a diversity of species (see list). 2) Constant-effort mistnetting - we have a crew of 4 people dedicated to mist-netting at MAPS stations. 3) Video-taping - we use video cameras to record nesting behaviors of focal species. 4) Target-netting - we have a crew of 2 to 4 that conduct targeted banding of key species. 5) Resighting – we have 1 to 2 individuals that spend everyday looking for banded birds on our study plots to enhance our knowledge about breeding pairs and adult survivorship. Nest finding and monitoring (See Nest-monitoring plots, Get a Behavioral Clue, Nest card protocol) One of the primary goals of the research being conducted in Arizona is to determine the demographic and life-history parameters of the breeding bird community. One particularly useful way to determine many of these parameters is to find nests. Once we find a nest we can determine: reproductive success, parental care strategies (e.g. incubation behaviors, nestling feeding rates), clutch size, egg mass, nestling growth rates, paternity, and many other traits. Nest searchers are assigned study plots on which they focus their nest-finding attention for the summer. All study plots are snowmelt drainages marked along the center with stakes every 25 meters. Stakes are numbered to identify stations within drainages. When nests are found, nest searchers take a compass reading and pace the distance to the nest from the closest stake. These directions are critical because we use them for mapping locations of nests and also so others can find the nests Each nest that is found is checked every 2 to 4 days to determine if it is still active (with eggs or young) or if it failed. As transition periods (i.e. hatching) approach nests are checked every day to determine exact nesting period lengths. Careful attention to nest checking is critical for providing the necessary information. In addition, detailed notes of nest status at each check are vital. Previous studies suggest that humans have little influence on predation probability, but we always want to guard against adding biases, so great care is to be taken near nests. Territory maps and abundance data Population density is often a good indicator of habitat suitability; however, habitats are not static and changes in habitats (e.g. global warming) can have adverse effects on populations. One way to address this concern is to census populations. For the past 20 years we have censused the breeding bird populations at the Arizona field site by mapping the territories of breeding males. Each day a nest searcher is on plot they record singing males (breeding pairs) relative to

location on the plots (station number) to determine the general location of all breeding pairs on the sites and the total number of pairs of every species on each site. Video monitoring (See video monitoring protocol) Parental care is a very important component of the reproductive effort of passerine birds. Parental care behaviors such as mate-feeding (males bring food to incubating females), nest attentiveness (percentage of time the female sits on the nest), and nestling feeding are costly behaviors with important implications to reproductive success. A particularly useful technique we use to determine the importance of these behaviors to different species is to videotape nests. Nests are taped for six hours starting at dawn using a Hi8 video camera setup on a tripod. Generally nest searchers tape at least one nest per day. Information about the nesting period, date, and species are recorded and the tapes are sent back to Montana to be watched. MAPS Netting Another important demographic component of any population is adult survival probability. Because of the importance of adult survival in many demographic studies a standardize protocol called MAPS was developed by the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). Data from sites using the MAPS protocol around North America is sent to IBP creating a large database of avian abundance and productivity. Arizona is one such site. In Arizona we have four people that net using MAPS protocol. Everyday these individuals go out on plot and set 10 nets in predetermined locations in an attempt to capture as many members of the bird community as they can. These birds are aluminum banded, color banded, their breeding status determined, and a myriad of measurements taken. Target Netting (See target-netting protocol) Although the MAPS protocol is an effective method for determining the average survival probability of a population, it is not very effective at targeting specific birds. In particular we are often interested in the demographics and behaviors of birds for which we have found nests. In an attempt to ascertain this information we use another netting technique we refer to as target netting. The target netting crews work closely with nest searchers to determine which nests have individuals that are unbanded. The nest searchers often help the banders find the nests on their plot, and show the netters where territorial males usually sing. Target-netters then capture these birds using a variety of techniques including: male playback, alarm calls, flushing incubating females, or setting nets in known flight paths. We target net several different species, including ground and shrub nesters, as well as cavity nesting species.

Resighting Although netting is an effective technique for measuring survival of birds it does have its limitations. Particularly birds are very adept at avoiding being captured in nets, especially if they have been captured before. The effect of this is that we may underestimate survival simply because birds are smart enough not to be recaptured. To avoid this bias we employ an additional technique, resighting. Because all birds that are captured are give a unique combination of three color bands and one aluminum band we can identify each banded bird by sight. Now although all members of the field crew actively attempt to resight color banded birds, because it is often difficult and time consuming we have some members of the crew that specifically resight. Resighters work closely with nest searchers to determine which birds are banded, and determine the exact color combination of color-banded birds. Resighters also search off-plot for birds that have dispersed since their banding. Vegetation Sampling (see vegetation sampling protocol) We conduct detailed measurement of the vegetation at nest sites and systematic sites to allow documentation of nest habitat selection and to monitor changes in both nest site selection and ecosystem vegetation across years. In particular, we are examining the potential effects of climate change and large herbivore browsing on the vegetation of this ecosystem and the resulting impacts on birds.

General Work Schedule
The general schedule is 12 days on and 2 days off. This schedule is necessary because of the short period (3 months) in which nests can be found and monitored. We use federal and state vehicles to get to field sites. These vehicles are also used for supply trips to town and for one grocery trip per week. The general schedule of the field camp begins around first light (which may be as early as 4am). From dawn until around noon is spent searching for nests, netting, or resighting. Then time is spent measuring vegetation at nest sites and random sites on the study plots. This schedule is often modified over the course of the season as work priority and seasons change. However, in general for the first four weeks or so, we spend most of our time nest searching, banding and resighting because this is the period of most nesting activity at the study sight. By mid-June, bird activity slows later in the morning, so nest searching stops earlier and more time is spent on vegetation measurements. In general, fieldwork ends between 12:30 – 2:00. Following fieldwork, everyone is expected to spend about an hour doing paperwork, such as writing up nest records. The remainder of the day is your own to do as you please. In addition to required work some individuals conduct independent research projects. We

encourage people with some experience and desire to conduct these projects and attempt to facilitate them as best as we can.

Logistics
Because of the large size of the field crew, the circumstances we live under, and the location of the field site there are a number of logistical issues that we encounter. While none of these issues are particularly difficult, it is important that everyone adhere to regulations and be aware of these issues so as to maintain the a positive camp environment. Cooking, camp fires, and smoking Because we work in a National Forest we must be aware of the potential for forest fires. Although the danger is relatively minor, we have a few rules to limit any threat. First, all cooking is done in a designated cook tent. Under no circumstances may anyone cook outside of the cook tent. Under some occasions we do have camp fires in camp, but these fires are carefully monitored and may only be lit in the designated fire ring. Finally, smoking is not allowed in any of the camp facilities (including tent and vehicles). If you wish to smoke we ask that you smoke outside of camp or in your personal vehicle. Also, be aware that all of the regulations are ultimately preceded by the regulations of the U.S. Forest Service, which are determined by the relative threat of wild fires. So depending on weather conditions in any given year these regulations may become stricter The campsite is permanent for the entire field season, so try to make yourself comfortable; this is going to be your home for 3 months. We suggest bring a large tent if available. Also make sure you bring a warm sleeping bag and some sort of sleeping pad (the thicker the better) because it can get quite cold at night, especially early in the season (5°F). In camp we have a generator to supply electricity to camp for charging video camera and computer batteries. The generator is on for only a limited time every day, and its use is meant primarily for project business, so please do not bring electronic equipment to camp. In addition to your personal tent there are two large canvas tents in camp. One is designated for doing paper work and data entry and the other for cooking and entertaining. In each of these tents we have a number of tables set up and some chairs for general use. In the cook tent there are also propane stoves for everyone’s use, but you will need to supply your own food, cookware and utensils. In addition, ALL FOOD is kept in closed containers in the cook tent so as to reduce human/wildlife interactions.

Be aware there is NO RUNNING WATER in camp. We have a 500 gallon water tank that we use for water obtained from town or the ranger station. This means that getting water is both time consuming and costly, so we try to conserve water as much as possible. This especially pertains to bathing. We bath one of 3 ways: 1) take a "bird bath" in one of the creeks or lakes near camp; 2) use of personal sun showers that are placed in the sun to heat up (please do this minimally because it uses a great deal of water); or 3) drive to the Happy Jack campground (an hour away) and use their facilities. Toiletries in camp are limited; we have two Porta-Potties set up near camp for general use. Food You must provide your own food. The nearest location to get food is located in Clint’s Well nearly an hour away from camp and the nearest complete grocery is nearly two hours away. Because of the great distance to the grocery the camp has a weekly grocery trip where everyone is invited to go to town in a camp vehicle and get groceries. Of course anyone can go to town at anytime in their personal vehicle. There is no refrigeration at camp. This means that perishable food items have a limited shelf life in camp, so be aware of this when buying food for a week. In addition, field days can often be quite long and tiring, so it is often nice to purchase foods that are easy and quick to prepare. Trash and Recycling In camp we have several large trashcans to store garbage and recycling. When these cans fill we transfer the trash to a localized dump area on the edge of camp and then once a week we transfer this material to the dump at Clint’s Well. Alcohol No alcohol or other drugs are allowed at the campsite. Pets No pets of any kind are allowed at the field camp. Mail We have a single post office box. Everyone will share the same box so that anyone going to town can pick up all mail. The mailing address is as follows: P.O. Box 19592, Happy Jack, AZ 86024. Phone

There is limited cellular service near the field site, yet many field assistant find cell phones to be the most convenient method for staying in touch. In addition the camp has a cellular phone, but this phone is only for official business, or in the case of emergencies. The nearest pay phone is one hour away in the town of Clint’s Well. Many assistants bring their own vehicles and drive to the phone to make calls and those without vehicles can catch rides with others most days of the week if needed. Emergencies In case of a family emergency, your family can call our cell phone and leave a message (we check messages daily). This telephone number is ABSOLUTELY for EMERGENCIES ONLY. The nearest hospital is in Payson (1 hour, 30 minutes away). We have basic first aid kits, training, and experience. We have not had any serious emergencies in our 20 years of work on this site. Paychecks All pay checks are sent out once a month to the P.O. Box in Happy Jack, but be aware the first paycheck does not arrive until 3 to 4 weeks after you start, so you need to bring enough money for one month to cover food, travel and hotels on days off, etc.

Things to Remember and Items to Bring
We live and work in a HIGH ELEVATION sites - Temperatures will be below freezing at night the first few weeks. In fact, there is often snow on the ground when we first arrive. Our work often requires standing stationary for periods of time and feet can get very cold. So be sure to bring cold weather clothing. Extra blankets and a sleeping pad to put on the ground under your sleeping bag are useful because they provide greater insulation and sleeping on the ground gets quite cold when temps are below freezing. It will rain some, and the dew causes wet vegetation in the morning. This can cause cold feet - try to bring waterproof boots and/or gaiters if possible, also rain gear. Usually it is great weather, but ten years ago was the wettest on record (in other words, you never know...), and some years are extremely dry. We will see elk and deer almost every day and you may also have the opportunity to see black bears and porcupines. Please bring a cooler or plan on purchasing one in Flagstaff. Bring a lantern or a flashlight. You should bring your own chairs, silverware, plates, and a pan or two for cooking. Below is a list of items we suggest that you bring to field camp; although not all are necessary most are meant to make your stay on the Rim more enjoyable. All of these items can be purchased in Flagstaff, and if you are flying this may be the best way to obtain many of these items. Binoculars Large cooler and/or storage bin (can be purchased in Flagstaff if you’re traveling by air or bus) Water bottles

Alarm Clock (battery powered or wrist-watch) Silverware, bowl, plate, pots, pans, drinking mug Tent with rain-fly (2-4 person tents are better than 1-person tents - we do not move) Tarps – one for below, and one for above (the UV will eat your tent quickly) Ropes and extra stakes for rigging up tent and tarps Warm sleeping bag (temps get down below freezing) Sleeping pad (extra blankets under the sleeping pad are helpful) Warm gloves and hat Sweaters and/or fleece Warm jacket or shell Field clothes Pens Warm boots (multiple pairs of boots are nice when 1 pair gets wet) Wool socks Long johns Reading material/Frisbee, camera, musical instrument, or other entertainment Sunscreen and a hat to shade face (this is extremely important) Biodegradable soap and shampoo Bucket to wash with Pillow Swimming suit Towels, washcloths Day pack (fanny pack, too, if you have one) Lighters Lantern (with extra mantles) White gas or propane bottles for lantern Flashlight (with extra batteries) Tupperware Bird book Telephone calling card


								
To top