Day Two of Camp23 Jun 2016, by 2016 Seabird Camps in
Today we had a very special opportunity to visit Anna Mel, Aqualina and all of their Unungan language learners/teachers at the St. Paul Civic Center. Through sign language, fun games and songs we all learned the Aleut words for our local seabirds. There were many smiles and a lot laughs as we learned about seabirds and Unungan culture.
Back in the Science Room, we reviewed the differences between probe feeding and surface feeding shorebirds, before making our own feeding shorebird toys. When finished, the rock sandpipers bobbed up and down like the good probe feeders that they are!
We continued the theme of birds finding food with a short seabird foraging presentations. We learned different feeding methods, especially about the differences between surface feeders and divers.
We applied this new knowledge of seabird feeding styles to plan this year’s theater production: “Rosy the Forgetful Finch.” Poor Rosy has amnesia and has to figure out what kind of bird she is by watching and imitating other birds. Let’s just say for now that Rosy does not master any seabird foraging techniques.
Next it was time for the epic battle of Murre Vs. Puffin for the 2016 Foraging Championship!!!! Murre beaks allowed them to only take one fish, but it could be really big. Puffins could take one big fish or three little ones. After two rounds of relay races we found that the point totals for the puffins usually came out ahead of the murres. It pays to have options!
A fed and fat puffin chick
Campers had a very stinky experience after that. We dissected predatory fish stomachs to see if they eat the same things as seabirds. The smell was not good. We did find 2 whole fishes, half of an octopus, a crab claw fish bones, one whole squid, an operculum, plankton, and more! We also noticed that cod stomachs were not as full as the halibut stomachs.
Campers had chance to paint foraging and nesting seabirds on real stretched canvases. Many styles emerged from realistic to, shall we say, more artistic interpretations.
As kids finished painting, they had a chance to play a few rounds of Seabird Twister! We had a few campers that that were more flexible than a preening seabird!
Our evening session featured an experiment to determine which type of insulation works best. We tested Fat vs. Feathers vs. Fur. The feathers were from subsistence-hunted seabirds. In the end, the fat won out. The kids thought that fat worked best because it is the densest of the three materials. Some Campers thought that if they used the tiny (down) feathers they would have been better than the big (contour) feathers.
A break-off group of 6 photographers braved the stormy, stormy weather. Only the toughest seabirds and kids were out on the cliffs Tuesday evening. The tourists, who are usually taking pictures in the evening, were nowhere to be seen! They must have stayed back at their hotel. And the kids were so excited to take pictures of seabirds that they really didn’t seem care about the wind and rain.