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• HSU Centennial – Wildlife Alumni Reunion; Mark your calendars August 10 & 11 2013: That’s right, HSU is turning 100! The Wildlife Alumni will celebrate with a weekend reunion in August. Come cool off on the coast and visit with alumni, students and staff and faculty old & new. More details soon to come in Alumni newsletter.
• The Wildlife Department welcomes two new tenure-track professors: Dr. Dan Barton is a population ecologist from Univ. Montana, and he’s currently working on landbirds. Dr. Tim Bean is a general wildlife ecologist from UC Berkeley, and he is currently working on giant kangaroo rats. Look for more information about their teaching and research interests soon. Welcome Dan & Tim!
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Humboldt State University’s student Wildlife Team captured its 25th title in the Western Regional Quiz Bowl at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, in mid-March. With the Laramie victory, the Wildlife team has won the title 25 times in 42 attempts since 1966, a batting average of better than 60 percent.
Burnishing this regional dominance, successive HSU teams have won the national competition nine times in 12 appearances, including the past three years in a row, for an exceptional success rate of 75 percent.The competition is sponsored by The Wildlife Society (TWS), an international non-profit scientific and educational association founded in 1937. TWS works to foster excellence in wildlife stewardship, in particular wildlife conservation in North America.
The newest crop of Quiz Bowl winners includes students Justin Purnell, Ryan Vazquez, Felicia Aragon, Bennett Hardy, Phil Chaon and John Oliver. Among the questions the HSU team answered were, “In what year were wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park?” A: 1995 “Sea otter populations in the Aleutian islands are believed to be declining because of predation by what marine mammal?” A: Killer whale or orca. “Everyone in the department is very proud of the students in the Wildlife Conclave class for working together to prepare the team for the competition,” says Wildlife lecturer Barbara Clucas. “Naturally we are very excited about this win.”
Wildlife students and Professor Jeffrey Black’s research on the social behavior of Stellar Jay’s was recently featured in the Humboldt State campus news. A group of undergraduate and graduate students have been researching the behavior of Steller’s Jays on and around campus under Wildlife Professor Jeffrey Black. Black has been banding, tracking and studying the smart but notoriously vocal birds since 1998. Read the full article here.
Humboldt State University wildlife students and staff are among the volunteers assisting with the care of waste-contaminated Brown Pelicans at the Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in Arcata. The center has admitted more than 100 juvenile Brown Pelicans in recent days. Some 95% are suffering from fish waste contamination, whose grease is often lethal to the species. Contamination results in long, slow starvation.
The nonprofit Bird Ally X (BAX), the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center (HWCC) and HSU volunteers are building temporary structures to provide emergency care for the young, ailing Pelicans. The recently fledged birds are being looked after at care units up and down the coast, from Crescent City to Los Angeles, according to a BAX communique.
Fish waste contamination comes from discharge pipes in bays and harbors and from the remains of dockside/marina cleaning of sport fishing catches. Juvenile Pelicans mistake the waste for their specialized diet of anchovy and sardines. The grease in fish waste—carcass and remains—contaminates the bird’s feathers, damaging its waterproofing. That compromises its ability to fish successfully without becoming cold and wet. At times, too, fish remains disable Pelicans from either swallowing the carcass or coughing it up.
Rescue volunteers can reach the BAX/HWCC in Arcata at 822-8839 or www.birdallyx.net.