Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Arb Notes

    <le Naturalists have been busy recently surveying the bird population in the Arb. For three summers now Owen McMurtrey ‘12 has been coming out once a week at the break of dawn to count birds in the Arb. To observe them he constantly scans the horizon and listens intently. 

    “Observing birds is 90% auditory and 10% visual,” he said. 

    Over the years Owen has learned to differentiate around 500 bird species, and though there are 218 species known in the Arb, in this bird survey there are 18 species of importance.

    The survey’s results will influence future management practices. 

    Restoration is one of the biggest goals of Arb management in regards to both plants and higher order species such as birds.

    The bird survey data could show how birds react to larger scale changes, such as fire, the removal of the tree line near Kettle Hole Marsh or the introduction of wetter prairie. 

    Opening up wetter land to prairie would most likely lead to increased species diversity, while other changes like prescribed fire cycles affect bird species in different ways.

    For now, the data set is still relatively small, but Owen looks forward to the day when factors like precipitation and temperature can be gauged from with years of data. At that point, the bird survey will be another source of information used to make informed decisions while managing the Arb.  

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *