Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nature Experienceship - Birding with Merrill Webb

We identified about 30 species of birds around the south end of Utah Lake last Saturday. Mr. Webb could spot any bird in the sky and name it, and by the end we could name a few birds ourselves. Mr. Webb taught us about the niche interactions of different species, specifically the White Faced Ibis and Snowy Egret who can coexist in the same niche because they are not competing for resources. The Ibis probes the mud using its long beak for insects and larvae, while scaring up fish for the Egret who uses its beak to catch them. I definitely left with an appreciation for the diversity of birds in the area, and how they have adapted to living together in the same ecosystem, managing resource and space competition.

Paige, museum educator

Species List (September 10, 2011):

White Faced Ibis
Barn Swallow
Yellow-headed blackbird
Marsh Wren
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorants
Snowy Egret
American Pelican
Black-necked stilt
Ring-billed gull
Greater Yellowlegs
Violet-green Swallow
Tree swallow - blue back
Clark's Grebe
American avocet
Cinnamon Teal
Franklin's Gull
American Coot
Marbled Godwit
Turkey Vulture
Caspian Tern
Sandhill Crane
Red-tailed Hawk