Featured Post

Conservation at its best!

So this is going to be a quick one! This morning was exciting because I got to go out and do an aerial survey for sage-grouse! Conser...

Thursday, May 21, 2015


excel responses

Data collection - Excel Academy

Hi Excel Academy!

I have put together a form for you guys to fill out based off the information that we felt was important last week!

Excel Academy data collection sheet

Here is the link to the you tube channel:
Adventures in Research and Wyoming - Playlists

This will take you directly to the playlist page and should make it easier for you to choose specific videos from leks and cameras.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

St Laurence - Data collection

Hi St. Laurence!

I have put together a form for you guys to fill out based off the information that we felt was important last week!

St. Laurence Greater Sage-Grouse data collection form

Here is the link to the you tube channel:
Adventures in Research and Wyoming - Playlists

This will take you directly to the playlist page and should make it easier for you to choose specific videos from leks and cameras.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

St. Laurence

Hi St. Laurence!

The citizen scientists came up with several great questions that they would like to ask using the video footage:

1. What do Greater Sage-Grouse do when the see a predator?
2. Do males strut when females are not on the lek?

Since science is a collaborative effort we will work in groups!!

Something to think about for is do you guys want to share your data between groups? Data collection can be time consuming, but if we split up the activity maybe we can make it easier for everyone.

Pro:  Each person potentially will look at less videos.

Con:  Each person will collect more data per video and that data may not be for your question.

Can you think of any other pros and cons?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Video is up! I have a You Tube channel!!

I am in the process of putting up videos onto my You Tube channel - Adventures in Research and Wyoming.

I will have ALL of the video footage from each camera per lek. These are organized in playlists (i.e., Lek 1 Camera 3).

The video names (i.e., 03270032) represent the month, date, media number (i.e. this video was taken on March(03) 27th and was the 32nd media file (pictures or video) created for that camera) . So feel free to stop by and check out videos!

Each video has the date  and time (24 hour). I will be adding the pictures soon as well. The pictures have slightly more information: barometric pressure, whether the pressure is rising or falling, and temperature (Fahrenheit).

Monday, May 11, 2015

To do (5/11/2015) Excel Academy

Hi citizen scientists!

You guys will work in groups for your research projects. But before I assign you groups I want to let you know what three questions you guys picked to investigate.

1. Does weather influence the number of sage-grouse?
2. How often do predators visit the leks?
3. What time of day do the most birds visit the lek?

I want you guys to start thinking about how you would answer these questions using the video footage for each question. What kind of information would you collect (example: Number of birds, date, time)? How different are the information that you want to collect between questions? What information is the same that you would collect for all the videos? There are A LOT of videos. Do you think that you will be able to look at ALL the videos? (If not, how might you decide what videos to watch).

I will be adding videos to my you tube channel today and tomorrow. I also have the pictures that tripped the camera. Do you think those would help you out in answering any of your questions?

Below is an example of a photo that was taken when the animal set off the motion sensor camera:

There is a bunch of information at the bottom of this photo. Can you figure out what that information is and if you think any of it would be useful for answering those questions?

Here is a closer look at the information at the bottom of the picture.

If you have questions, comments, answers to any of these questions, feel free to write in the comments section! I will get back to you as soon as I can (most likely at the end of the day).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Scientist-in-Training: Observations - "I don't know" is a scientific answer

So I have a ton of footage.. a ton! But before I show you some choice videos I wanted to give you a link to sage-grouse information.

There is a lot of information out there on Greater Sage-Grouse and as a field biologist the first thing you would like to get down is identification! Identification is not always easy or clear cut. The first thing you have to be able to say as a citizen scientist is....

"I don't know"

This happens to everyone (even those who are experts). Sometimes identification is something that comes with experience; going out birding and seeing many different kinds of birds to get a sense of what they look like, and how they are similar or different. And sometimes the reason you can't tell whether it is a female or a male has to do with the direction the bird is facing, if it is too far away and you just can't  get a good enough look to make a determination, or maybe it is a young male who doesn't have full adult plumage and isn't displaying. There are many reasons why you might not be able to identify a bird or whether that bird is male or female.

Male Greater Sage-Grouse in the center and two females on either side. Photo

'Unknowns' are an important part of any data set! If a data set doesn't have any "i don't know's" then I am skeptical. Especially with a bird that has the potential to be hard to ID.

Here is a link to the Natural Resource Conservation Service's (NRCS), Sage-Grouse Initiative Greater Sage-Grouse Field Indicator Guide. There are some really great descriptions and photos of male and female sage-grouse. Also, did you know that there are other kinds of grouse found in Wyoming? This guide also gives you a good look at what other kinds of grouse look like, how to use behavior or where you observe them to help determine what kind of grouse it is. They even show you how flight patterns can be different between different types of grouse.

Here is my description: Male and female sage-grouse do look different, but sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. A good indication that a sage-grouse is a male is that it is displaying (puffing up its air sacs and doing a little dance). All males have that white plumage on their chest (it looks like a nice feather boa to me) and yellow above the eyes. Females do not have the white plumage. Often they are seen just hanging out and foraging in the videos. If they aren't facing the camera though you can not be sure whether it is a female or male. And that is okay.

And now for the test:

There are three photos below. Are they male or female sage-grouse?

Photo credit: Katherine Zarn
Photo credit: Katherine Zarn

Photo credit: Katherine Zarn

Now to make some observations!

Lek 1 Camera 1 videos from March 27th and 28th

Happy sciencing!