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.
Course Overview:

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
fly backwards?
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
the class.