This course sounds fascinating; any hope of offering it somewhere in the
central part of the state or even, wishfully, in Burlington?Nancy
Rosalind Renfrew wrote:
>I thought this might be of interest to folks....
>Calling all birders and curious naturalists!
>Announcing a 5-week seminar
>The Miracle of Migration
>Sponsored by The Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Manchester
>Instructor: William Calfee
>Five evenings in September and October, with an optional day-long field trip
>to the bird banding station at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences!
>Space is limited - sign up early!
>Billions of birds migrate, some of them across the globe and some up and
>down mountains. In this course we will investigate how and why some birds go
>to such extreme lengths to breed in a place far from where they winter. Each
>evening will focus on a piece of the spectacle and will include a lecture,
>discussion, and a lab exercise. Prerequisite: A Heightened Curiosity!
>For 21 years Bill studied water chemistry and biology in southern Vermont.
>After selling his business, he returned to school for a Biology degree. For
>the past two years Bill Calfee has been researching the evolution of avian
>migration, focusing on Calcium demand and the influence of Vitamin D.
>Evening 1. Evolution of Migration: This class will look into why migration
>evolved. Why would any species living in the beautiful warm tropics evolve
>to fly 25,000 miles a year (the Arctic Tern)? The risk and energetic costs
>are enormous, what are the benefits? Why are some birds year-round
>Evening 2. Navigation: How do birds find their way around? How does a first
>year bird find its way to its wintering grounds without its parents? What
>are the paths that birds take and why?
>Evening 3. Feathers: What are they? What do they do? What are they for? What
>makes them the color that they are? When did they evolve? Why did they
>evolve (there is some evidence that creatures had feathers before they could
>fly!)? Why is an owl silent? Why is a blue bird blue?
>Evening 4. Locomotion: How does a bird fly? Why are there no muscles on the
>back of a bird (You always eat a chicken breast, right!)? How does a bird
>weighing less than 1/2 -oz fly for 80 hours non-stop? How does a Hummingbird
>Evening 5. Eggs and reproduction: How does a bird lay one egg a day? Why are
>there yolks and whites? Why don't birds lay eggs in the winter? This is
>where we cover all those things that you wanted to know about bird-sex, but
>were afraid to ask!
>Field Trip to Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences:
>Manomet landbird studies and habitat protection programs date back to their
>founding in 1969. They operate one of North America's oldest and most
>extensive landbird banding programs that has documented significant declines
>in many of the formerly common woodlands and field species. Their efforts
>focus on using this information to guide habitat protection and land
>management programs throughout the Northeast. The banding program also
>introduces children and adults from throughout southeastern New England to
>concepts of habitat protection, migratory species, and native plantings. We
>will be able to see how they capture birds, band them and measure their
>health as it relates to the long migration ahead. A senior scientist will
>give us a talk about some of the birds and conservation issues that surround
>This course will be on Wednesday evenings from September 10th through
>October 8th, with an all-day field trip on Friday, October 3rd. The class
>will meet at the VINS office in Manchester Village from 6 to 8 pm. Cost will
>be $100 per person for VINS members and $130 for non-members, plus $10 per
>person (approximately) for field trip to Manomet. The material will be
>presented at an adult level. Class limited to 20.
>How to Register:
>Please call the VINS-Manchester office at 802-362-4374 to register by credit
>card or send a check payable to VINS to P.O. Box 46, Manchester, VT 05254.
>Due to limited class size, payment must be received to reserve a space in