Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birds and Their Bills and other Programs

We were on a field trip one day and I mentioned to the Refuge Manager that Mark has a really fun presentation that he calls “Birds and Their Bills.” She asked him if he would give this program at Santa Ana on a Saturday. She also let him know that if he had other programs he would like to present to let her know.

Out of this came a four part series to be presented in the Santa Ana Auditorium on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m.

The first presentation (Birds and Their Bills) was a program that he has given a couple of times and it is a really fun way to look at birds and the shapes and sizes of their bills. He talks about how bird species have developed bills that give them an important advantage when competing with other species for food. He tells how a bird’s bill gives us important clues as to their food preferences, feeding behavior, and habitat requirements.

The boxes on the table hold replicas of bird skulls that we passed around for the audience to examine.

The programs are free, about one hour, and open to the public.

Here is a schedule and info on the upcoming programs:

March 5, 2011 - Bananas and Blacklights, What Goes on When the Sun Goes Down – There are more insect species in the world than any other group of organisms, yet we see only a few of them in our everyday lives. With many insect species being nocturnal, the use of baits and lures at night can be a great way to attract them for photography and identification. Santa Ana NWR field trip leader Mark McClelland used bananas and blacklights over a two year period at his home in Central Texas to attract a wide variety of insects. Come and share the pictures of bugs, beetles, butterflies and moths that were a result of this effort.

March 12, 2011 - Butterflies as Nature's Botanists – Most of us enjoy the colorful butterflies that grace our gardens year round in South Texas. And some have gone so far as to plant special gardens to attract the adult butterflies with flowers and nectar. Santa Ana NWR field trip leader Mark McClelland will reveal the amazing relationships that butterfly larva (caterpillars) share with specific host plants, requiring the female butterfly to be nature’s botanist in order to lay her eggs on exactly the right plant. This butterfly and host plant relationship is so specific that it may also be used to locate hard-to-find plants by following the correct female butterfly as she searches for a place to lay her eggs!

March 19, 2011 – Birding Northwestern Ecuador – Santa Ana NWR field trip leaders Mark and Teri McClelland traveled to Northwestern Ecuador in November, 2008, and spent two weeks finding and identifying the birds of this amazing region. From tropical lowlands to the high-elevation Paramo region, they enjoyed nearly 450 species of birds, including 49 different hummingbirds. Join Mark as he discusses the landscapes,

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