Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Embarassed to have breaked so long...

Alright, so I have to admit that I am embarrassed. I have gone and taken a 5 month hiatus from writing and I am sorry. In the meantime, I have finished up my research with the wonderful and elusive woodcock and I am about to head to Florida to begin my Ph.D.! Life has been nothing but excitement, finishing up my field season and writing on my thesis. Now, I plan on incorporating a typical (at least once a week) writing on this blog to discuss hot topics in science and green living. I'd love for people to take part in the discussion and share with me their thoughts. For today, I am going to leave it at this but please be waiting for more! Today, I leave you with a wonderful picture... of a wonderful bird that you should head off and find.

One of the American woodcock caught during my field season.        

Stay tuned for more green whispers! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I strip for wildlife!

          My field season, where I am studying the American woodcock, brings with it many exciting adventures. However, this one beats all (thus far)! I was going out to my field site, at about 8 am, to complete vegetation surveys and I saw a hawk stuck in a barbed wire fence. When I say stuck I mean STUCK! Originally, I thought he was dead. Then, he blinked. I knew right then I needed to go do something. Instead of thinking it all the way through, I walked right up to it and grabbed it in a birder's grip (keep in mind I have little experience with hawks). Then, I went to grab it's legs before it could get me with its talons. I was not quick enough and then I was stuck to the hawk and by association stuck to a barbed wire fence. Now, keep in mind hawks DO NOT let go.

A picture of a cooper's hawk. Quite beautiful!
            Due to my inexperience, the only choice was for my field assistant to knock on doors as this hawk was not coming loose without us cutting the barbed wire. She went to the first house and came back with a rusty pair of pliers. That left us with a hawk, attached to my arm, and about a 3 ft long piece of barbed wire that was still attached to the hawk. We still could not get it loose so she went to house # 2 and came back with an even worse pair of pliers! These got us down to about 1 foot of barbed wire. Finally, I decided to knock on a person's door (as my field assistant was stuck talking) and ask the people who lived there for help. Keep in mind, I had a hawk stuck to my arm and it HURT. Amazingly, although the ladies had nothing to help me, they did invite me in. Following that, I went to their neighbors and he decided that he was going to save the eagle. And yes, you heard that right, the EAGLE. I can just imagine what my arm would have looked like if it had been an eagle!

A picture of an eagle.... Please compare this to the picture above. Hard to mistake one for the other!

          After 1.5 hours of this hawk being stuck to my arm we finally freed him. However, he refused to free me. So, I decided to lay him on the ground and tear the one talon left in my skin out and put it on my jacket. Then I removed my jacket and realized that he was stuck to my second layer of clothing. So, my field assistant nicely unbuttoned my 6 or 7 buttons (talk about awkward) and I removed that layer. Then believe it or not he was stuck to my final shirt and yes, I did what I had to. I stripped for wildlife.  Then I was left standing, in the cold and in a neighborhood, in my sports bra. We left all of my clothing there, I put on my field assistants extra shirt, and we went and completed our work. I am happy to say that when we got back the hawk was gone and I can only hope that he is off flying around and staying away from barbed wire and people's arms! The following is a drawing completed by one of my friends to honor this occasion.... and notice the smug look on the hawks face!

          On a more serious note, it is amazing how small aspects of what we do as humans can affect wildlife. Something as simple as a barbed wire fence almost killed that hawk, and he was just trying to get at food. There are multitudes of examples like this, such as pesticide use and the like, that affect organisms dramatically. So, next time you are thinking about putting in  barbed wire fence or manipulating the earth in any fashion, think about wildlife. You do not have to strip for wildlife, but just a thought is all I'm asking!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five more days left for necklace giveaway!!

Hi Everyone! Sorry I have not gotten to post in a while. Fieldwork and other parts of graduate life have been keeping me busy. However, I did want people to know that there are only 5 more days to enter a giveaway for one of my necklaces! So, if you have not already, head on over to the link below and get yourself entered. I'll be getting some more green whispers up here soon! :)

Earth Sense Jewelry Necklace

Monday, January 10, 2011

Have you ever seen thorns like this?

I'm keeping this short but I wanted to share a picture of thorns I walked by while out completing vegetation surveys for my study on American woodcock. Have you ever seen thorns like that ?! Yikes!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A beautiful flower!

        Alright, so my title is misleading because I'm not talking about a real flower. A couple days ago I was out birding and came upon the most beautiful sight. I would not have known what it was! Thankfully I had an older (and wiser) birding companion who told me it was a frost flower. It is just too cool of a scientific phenomenon for me not to share!!

A picture of a frost flower. So beautiful!!

              This beautiful frost flower occurs when the ground is not frozen but a frost occurs. Long thin cracks form along the stem of a plant during freezing temperatures because the sap expands under these conditions. Capillary action causes this water to squeeze through the cracks and freeze when it comes in contact with the cold air. The layers, that form the flower, are caused by more and more water squeezing through the cracks and pushing the thin sheets of ice further away from the stem. If you find one of these awesome creations of nature just look at it and admire because they are fragile and will break if touched! They come in all different shapes and sizes, so every time you get a glance at one can be a surprise. 

                My field season has started and next week I will try and update you with Woodcock Wednesdays. I just wanted to share this beautiful creation of nature with you! Please stay tuned for more green whispers. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let's recycle some bottles... and plant some plants!!

      I am a graduate student and being a student I can attest to the fact that money is hard to come by. So, I have learned to try and reuse when I can and recycle objects, such as soda bottles, into useful stuff. It is amazing how economical reusing materials can be!
      Today I am going to focus on one project of mine which started with a powerade bottle. I had taken a plant cutting and it was finally ready to plant. At this point, I could have ran out to the store and bought a pot OR I could use some ingenuity to make my own. I really wanted to add some pizazz to the graduate office so, not only did I want to make a planter, but I wanted a hanging planter. Here is what I did:

1) Find yourself a large powerade bottle or something similar. Obviously, this all depends on how large you want it. I bet that a 2 liter soda bottle would make an awesome large hanging planter!!

2) Cut off the top portion of the bottle to the height that you want. You could cut from the bottom, but I like the look of the cap being the bottom of the pot.

3) Cut holes into 3 spots along the edge of the bottle (see arrows above). These will be to put string through for hanging. If you have a good pair of hole punchers, you may be able to use those.

4) Find some string or yarn you have laying around the house and tie these around the holes you made. I used some leftover yarn I had from past knitting projects.

5) Tie all the string together at the top and there you have it! Your very own hanging plant pot. Now jump up and down, plant a plant in it, and hang it off a hook! :)

The finished product!

Other ideas:

1) Why not decorate the bottle?
2) You could use a larger bottle to plant a larger plant.
3) Use all different colors of string for a crazy look!
4) Glue recycled magazine clippings to the outside to decorate.
5) Just have fun and use your imagination!! :)

I hope that you have fun with this project. It is super simple but affective!! Stay tuned for more green whispers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sickness :(

Hi everyone! I have not disappeared... just been sick! I am going to rest and come back into writing on this (and everything else I do) after this weekend. I am going to have an exciting adventure on Monday completing a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) so will try and share this experience with you! I hope everyone has a great holiday!

This is what I felt like yesterday!! Yuck!