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New adventures in tech, by Barb Gorges, bgorges4@msn.com

Published February 12, 2017, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Mark and I finally made the jump to smart phones last month. Our children are applauding.

What I was really looking forward to once I was in possession of a smart phone was eBird Mobile. My daughter-in-law, Jessie, was using it when we birded together over the holidays. It means that you can note the birds you see on your phone while you are in the field and then submit them as an eBird checklist.

The second day I had my phone, I went to eBird.org to find out how to downloaded it (in the Help section search for "eBird Mobile"). It's free. If you aren't signed up for eBird already, it will help you do that for free also. Then I prepared for a trial run birding out at F.E. Warren Air Force Base with Mark.

Because we are rather miserly with our monthly data allotment, I chose to use the app offline while in the field. But because I was establishing a new birding location for the mobile version, I established it while I was at home and could use our Wi-Fi.

The preparation for offline means you are downloading an appropriate checklist of birds possible for the area. Otherwise eBird Mobile will give you the world list, 10,414 species, to scroll through.

As we birded, I scrolled through the much shorter list of local possibilities and added the numbers of each species seen as I observed them. At the end of the trip, I hit the submit button. However, on my next eBird Mobile attempt it was bitterly cold. Recording birds while holding a pencil in a mittened hand works, but it was too cold to risk a bare hand to manipulate the touch screen, though I have since invested in "touch screen" gloves.

The mobile app can't do everything the regular checklist submission process does, like attach photos. But that upgrade may be coming soon. Meanwhile, you can edit your mobile-produced checklists on the eBird website whenever it's convenient.

I've also downloaded the free Merlin Bird ID App, http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ and tried it. I told Merlin where I was, what day it was, how big and what color the bird was and where it was (ground, bush, tree, sky) and up popped a photo of the most likely candidate, other possible species, general information and bird song recordings.

Both of these apps are Cornell Lab of Ornithology projects. Both are designed to get more people excited about birds. More data collected means more understanding, and more understanding means better conservation of birds.

The lab has even more up its sleeve. At a recent meeting, staff from far-flung places gathered to discuss making animated migration maps that will allow zooming in on particular locations. Recently, Audubon and CLO announced eBird Mobile is available on the dashboard of select Subaru models. That's an update I wouldn't mind seeing the dealer for.

CLO employs a lot of tech people. Job openings on the eBird website list require technical qualifications. Preferred qualifications include "An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation helpful."

So maybe it doesn't surprise you that our son Bryan, with a degree from the University of Wyoming in software engineering--and exposed to birdwatching from birth--has become not only a birder, but in October moved to Ithaca, New York, to work for CLO.

He can bird to and from work, walking through the famous Sapsucker Woods. He tells us the winter regulars include many of the same species we see in Cheyenne. However, he says he sees four kinds of woodpeckers: downy and hairy, which we see, but also red-bellied woodpecker and pileated woodpecker, eastern birds.

Surrounded by serious birdwatchers all week, perhaps on weekends you would be forgiven for picking up a different hobby. But no, on the Martin Luther King holiday, everyone from Bryan's office went up near Seneca Falls and found snowy owls, a gyrfalcon, northern shrike and thousands of snow geese.

The next weekend Bryan and Jessie went back and found two more snowy owls and three kinds of swans. eBird can help me predict the height of spring migration in Ithaca and I hope to time Mark's and my visit accordingly. But we must fit in one last trip to Texas to visit our younger son, Jeffrey, before he and his wife move to Seattle for new jobs.

If your children aren't moving back to Cheyenne, at least let them live in interesting places.

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2016 Meadowlark Audubon $1,000 Scholarship Winner's Essay

This year's essay winner is Zayne Hebbler, a 2016 graduate of Cody High School. Zayne plans to attend the University of Wyoming to pursue a degree in Environmental and Natural Resources.

Click here to read Zayne's essay (437 KB, 1 page)

If you don't have Adobe Reader for PDF files, you may download it here - http://get.adobe.com/reader/

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Local Couple Wins Recognition for Outstanding Habitat Restoration and Zone 4 Garden

Stephanie and Andy Rose of Powell, Wyoming, have been recognized for their contribution to garden habitat for songbirds and pollinators in the Rocky Mountain area. They were one of only twelve "Outstanding" examples of creative habitat restoration, and "Outstanding Zone 4 Garden."

Located on a bench about half way between Cody and Powell, their garden contains many varieties of grasses and perennials, plus 8 evergreen varieties and 24 different deciduous trees and shrubs.

Read about this interesting and bird-friendly project in the current Meadowlark Winter 2014 newsletter on this website. And if you would be interested in helping Stephanie and Andy conduct a survey of birds found on their 18-acre property, contact Meadowlark President Destin Harrell. You will find his contact information on the Officers page of this website.

The following pictures of Stephanie and Andy Rose's gardens are courtesy of Stephanie Rose, and are used with permission.

Rose garden 1
Rose garden 2
Rose garden 3
Rose garden 4

 

American Kestrels Need Your Help; Here's a Link to a Peregrine Fund Project for Kestrels

Your Meadowlark board suggests that you check out this link to a citizen science project that will help provide research for the conservation of the American Kestrel. The population chart for the Northern Rockies shows a 55% decline in the American Kestrel population during the years 1966 to 2008.

Put up a Kestrel nestbox and monitor it to help provide data for research. Check out the website to see webcam clips from the 2012 nesting season, and check back next spring to see live webcam views of nesting Kestrels. You will also find some lovely pictures of American Kestrels on the website's home page at http://kestrel.peregrinefund.org/

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Interested in Buying New Binoculars?

If you're thinking about buying binoculars, but don't know how to select that perfect model from among all the choices available, here's a website which may help you narrow your search. http://allbestbinoculars.com/

Designed to provide unbiased and comprehensive information, this site offers reviews of 15 brands and 15 types, plus an article on how binoculars work, and another on how to buy binoculars.

Give this site a look, and if you are dissatisfied in any way, contact Joyce Cicco, Meadowlark Webmaster.

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Annual Chapter-Only Dues Renewable September 1st

Local Meadowlark Chapter-Only Dues remain only $12 per year. Make your check out to Meadowlark Audubon and mail to Sally Disque, Membership Chair; 11 Shiloh Road; Cody, WY 82414.

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Site originated: 2/23/2002
This page last updated: 11/17/2017

All information contained in this site is copyright protected.
Questions or comments? Contact:
Joyce Cicco, Meadowlark Webmaster