Academic journal article Frontiers - A Journal of Women's Studies

Off Course

Academic journal article Frontiers - A Journal of Women's Studies

Off Course

Article excerpt

On April 18, the Center For Research on the Poetics of Flight hosted "Off-Course: Interfering (facing) with Migratory Songbirds," a presentation by ecologist Dr. Lesley Bulluck.

At noon, we met around a picnic basket set atop a cluster of stools on a sidewalk. The adventure started as I asked each member of the group to take a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich from the basket: "Make note of the wrapper; it shows four endangered songbird species. On the way to the site, we'll keep our eyes and ears open for these birds."

Sandwich birding guides and camp-stools in hand, we walked down the street. "Is that Bewick's wren? Do you hear Bachman's sparrow? And the two species of warbler are matched counter-singing!"

At the site, we spread parachute blankets illustrating the golden winged warbler's migration range, and we unfolded stools that showed the bird's wintering and breeding grounds. We sat to listen to Dr. Bulluck speak on her involvement with bird ecology.

Her research focused on the declining warbler population and on the role of habitat loss as a primary factor in the bird's reduced numbers. Dr. Bulluck's study of the birds in Tennessee revealed an unexpected trend: the warbler's numbers were actually growing, contrary to regional patterns. More unexpected was that coal mining in the Cumberland Mountains had created an abundance of suitable breeding habitat for the bird. As abandoned mines were reclaimed by vegetation and wildlife, the developing scrub-shrub habitats proved ideal as postbreeding grounds for fledging warblers. …

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