Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cornell Lab of Ornithology visits Lowcountry


Mike McShane, Dr. John Fitzpatrick and Ernie Wiggers
A Eurasian Eagle Owl swoops in and joins the luncheon!!

The Nemours Wildlife Foundation oversees nearly 10,000-acres of land in the ACE Basin alongside the Combahee River. The cost of research is ever increasing and the Friends of Nemours is a philanthropic group of citizens who support their efforts. Nemours brings in a speaker each year for the Friends luncheon and on October 19 the Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology came to speak about his birding work. Wildlife conservation through education and research is the mission statement for the Nemours Wildlife Foundation. A large part of their focus is on birds or avian species including migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and neo-tropical songbirds. There is even talk of bringing two endangered species, whooping cranes and red-cockaded woodpeckers, to the ACE Basin. Dr. John Fitzpatrick has traveled the world for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in search of good habitat for birds. “The Nature Conservancy recognized the Top 50 great places in the world,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “Of those 50, only 12 are in the Unites States and one of them is the ACE Basin! I want to thank the Nemours Board of Directors for preserving the legacy of Eugene duPont III by protecting the wildlife habitat here.” Ongoing research projects at Nemours include the study of black rails and mottled ducks. “Birds are superb models for how nature works and they are also sensitive environmental indicators,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “Furthermore, birds are the heartbeat of global annual cycles like the migration that occurs twice-a-year. Modern science at the Cornell Lab allows us to better map the travel of these birds and identifies the areas they are using at each endpoint of migration. Knowing where the birds are could be the reason that unifies groups for landscape-scale preservation efforts, similar to what has occurred here in the ACE Basin. The Cornell Lab is trying to conduct an orchestra of efforts to study birds on behalf of the earth’s biological diversity,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “Our citizen science programs are simply an attempt to organize the curiosity generated by bird sightings. One example in the Lowcountry is the Swallow-tailed kite citizen science program in partnership with the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. Average citizens can simply report their sightings of this striking raptor via computer, and then we can map out where they are presently occurring.” The Friends of Nemours then viewed a flight demonstration with Jim Elliott of the Center for Birds of Prey feauturing a Harris Hawk and an impressive Eurasian Eagle Owl. It’s great that all these wildlife-oriented groups could gather at the Friends luncheon and give a HOOT about our wonderful feathered friends, and to celebrate the joy of birding.
 
Jim Elliot recovers a Harris Hawk during the flight demo

To view my feature article in the newspaper click Colletonian.

Terry Williams and Kay Merrill enjoy refreshments

To view past blog entries from the Friends of Nemours, and Int'l. Crane Foundation click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.