June 5 Monthly Meeting: How Do Painted Buntings Express Aggression Vocally?

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The meeting will be held at Brookhaven College, in the Miles Building H-125.  See below for more information on the location and time.

How Do Painted Buntings Express Aggression Vocally?

The Painted Bunting is a very unusual bird.  It is the smallest species that retains female-like plumage into the second year, when males are old enough to breed.  Since small birds typically only live a few years, why can Painted Buntings keep female-like plumage, which seems to be less likely to attract a mate than the mature male plumage?  What, if any, advantage do subadult Painted Buntings gain from retaining this plumage?  Wayne Meyer will report on his research at Hagerman NWR which has been trying to answer these questions.  The answers are surprising.  Come hear about the research and pose the next great question to be investigated.  Perhaps your input will help move this project forward in a new direction.

About the speaker:

Wayne Meyer is Associate Professor and Chair of the Biology department at Austin College, where he has been teaching for 26 years.  He started birding at 13 in Connecticut.  In 1993 he finally achieved his life’s dream of being paid to look at birds when he joined the faculty of Austin College.  He has birded both coasts of the U.S. extensively and now has spent a quarter century birding in Texas and Oklahoma.  The proximity of Austin College to Hagerman NWR has made research on prairie birds easy and convenient and he has been studying song learning and singing in Painted Buntings for over a decade.  Meyer is also a sought after speaker for Master Naturalist groups and a frequent speaker at the Friends of Hagerman NWR second Saturday programs.

The June 2019 Chapter meeting:

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Schedule:
6:30 Meet and eat
7:00 Introduction and Announcements
7:20 Featured Presentation
8:45 Adjournment

The meeting place for June is:
Brookhaven College
Miles Building Room H-125
3939 Valley View Lane
Farmers Branch, TX 75244

As always all of our meetings are free and open to the public.

Hope to see YOU there!

Citizen Scientists around Dallas/Fort Worth participate in the City Nature Challenge 2019

By Sam Kieschnick, Urban Wildlife Biologist in Dallas/Fort Worth with Texas Parks and Wildlife

On April 26-29, 2019, citizen scientists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area participated in the fourth annual City Nature Challenge.  From the organizers at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: The City Nature Challenge is an international celebration of urban biodiversity, where cities compete to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and get the most people involved.

Citizen scientists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were indeed involved this year!  1016 participants made 36513 observations of 2625 species during these four days.  This is tremendous!  Last year, 826 participants made 35,048 observations of 2441 species, and the previous year, 542 participants made 24,077 observations of 2309 species.  So, across the board, we improved.

Dallas/Fort Worth earned 7th place internationally for observations, 9th place for species, and 10th place for participants.  The City Nature Challenge included 153 cities around the world this year with even more planned next year!

As with all citizen science, a few dots on a map aren’t incredibly informative, but when combined with thousands and millions of other dots, we can get some really fascinating results!  This year’s city nature challenge engaged quite a few people, and as public land management decisions are made, the observations and constituency may guide this decision making process.  For instance, in Gateway Park, 6 citizen scientists made 244 observations of 166 species in a single morning.  That tells me that this area is a significant refuge for biodiversity.  In Dallas County alone, 320 participants added 8,242 observations!  The naturalist community is strong and biodiversity is present even in the urban ecosystem.  Thanks to everyone that participated!

If you want to look at the results, here they are:

Global results: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019

Dallas/Fort Worth City Nature Challenge page: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-dallas-fort-worth

Species most frequently seen in Dallas/Fort Worth: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-dallas-fort-worth?tab=species

May 1 – Monthly General Meeting – Rare Orchids of Texas

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The meeting will be held at Brookhaven College, in the Miles Building H-125.  See below for more information on the location and time.

 

In 2004 a small group of North Texas Master Naturalists began a field study with Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden of the University of Dallas on native non-photosynthetic, mycoheterotrophic orchids. Each summer from mid-May through late July a team of North Texas Master Naturalists explore along several trails in Cedar Ridge Preserve looking for the flower spikes of Hexalectris orchids. The data base of information that has been compiled has greatly expanded the scientific knowledge of these unusual, beautiful terrestrial orchids. The May Meeting presentation will share basic information on mycoheterotrophy, Hexalectris orchids, the steps of the annual orchid censusing, and the new knowledge that this work has added to the world of botany.

 About the Speaker

Stephanie Varnum, a native of Pennsylvania, has lived in Texas for almost 50 years. “My parents instilled a love of and deep respect for nature in me. It’s been my joy to pass that heritage along to my husband, Jim, our children, and six grandchildren. I became a Texas Master Naturalist in 2002 and discovered my passion for Citizen Science and ecological studies. Since 2005, I have done field research on native orchids in Texas with a focus on non-photosynthetic, myco-heterotrophic orchids.”

The May 2019 Chapter meeting:

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Schedule:
6:30 Meet and eat
7:00 Introduction and Announcements
7:20 Featured Presentation
8:45 Adjournment

The meeting place for May is:
Brookhaven College
Miles Building Room H-125
3939 Valley View Lane
Farmers Branch, TX 75244

As always all of our meetings are free and open to the public.

Hope to see YOU there!

City Nature Challenge 2019: Fri. Apr. 26 – Mon. Apr. 29

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Please Join Us!

City Nature Challenge 2019, Fri. Apr. 26 – Mon. Apr. 29

Photo by Stalin SM

What kind of nature can live with us in the urban ecosystem?  The city nature challenge is a great way that we can find out!  The Dallas/Fort Worth area (the 9 counties around Dallas/Fort Worth) will be competing with over 130 cities/urban areas around the world on April 26-29, 2019.

We want to document as much biodiversity as possible to show the rest of the world that we have wild spots throughout the DFW metroplex, and we have loads of naturalists who actively care about these wild areas!  Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar: Friday, April 26 through Monday, April 29.  A list of the locations of all of the Bioblitzes is listed below.

For more information about the overall City Nature Challenge: www.citynaturechallenge.org

In addition, Patti Vinson, wrote about the Challenge in the April edition of the Lake Highlands Advocate magazine. Read her story here. https://lakehighlands.advocatemag.com/2019/03/dallas-countdown-nature-challenge/

Name/Organizer Location Date Start End
Tarleton State University TSU new campus: 10636 Old Granbury Rd, Crowley, TX 76036 4/26 9:00 AM 1:00 PM
Univerity of Texas at Dallas UT Dallas Monarch Waystation (meet at gazebo) 4/26 11:00 AM 1:00 PM
Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area LLELA: 201 E Jones St, Lewisville, TX 75057 4/26 2:00 PM 8:30 PM
Indian Trails Master Naturalists *mothing event – Mockingbird Nature Park: Mockingbird Lane, 1361 Onward Rd, Midlothian, TX 76065 4/26 8:00 PM 10:00 PM
City of Grapevine Parr Park: 3010 Parr Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051 4/26 7:30 PM 9:00 PM
Elise Walker Outdoor Learning Center Elise Walker Outdoor Learning Center: 4611 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75038 4/27 7:30 AM 9:30 AM
City of Grapevine Parr Park: 3010 Parr Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051 4/27 9:00 AM 11:00 AM
Dogwood Canyon Audubon Cedar Ridge Preserve: 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75249 4/27 9:00 AM 11:00 AM
Dallas Parks and Rec Gateway Park: 2500 N Jim Miller Rd, Dallas, TX 75227 4/27 9:00 AM 12:00 PM
Blackland Prairie Conservatory and Atelier Blackland Prairie Conservatory and Atelier: 9949 McCree Rd, Dallas, TX 75238 4/27 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
University of North Texas Pecan Creek Pollinative Prairie: East Field of 3940 N. Elm St., Denton, TX 76207 4/27 10:30 AM 12:00 PM
Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area *mothing event in evening – LLELA: 201 E Jones St, Lewisville, TX 75057 4/27 8:00 AM 11:00 PM
Fort Worth Nature Center Fort Worth Nature Center: 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd, Fort Worth, TX 76135 4/27 9:00 AM 3:00 PM
SouthWest Nature Preserve SouthWest Nature Preserve: 5201 Bowman Springs Rd, Arlington, TX 76017 4/27 2:00 PM 5:00 PM
City of Coppell Coppell Nature Park: 367 Freeport Pkwy, Coppell, TX 75019 4/27 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Twelve Hills Nature Center, North Texas Master Naturalists Twelve Hills Nature Center: 817 Mary Cliff Rd, Dallas, TX 75208 4/28 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Heard Museum Heard Museum: 1 Nature Pl, McKinney, TX 75069 4/28 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
City of Grapevine Meadowmere Park: 3000 Meadowmere Ln, Grapevine, TX 76051 4/28 1:00 PM 4:00 PM
Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area: 3000 Hillbrook St, Dallas, TX 75214 4/28 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
Cross Timbers Master Naturalists Chisholm Trail Community Park: 4936 McPherson Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76123 4/28 2:00 PM 5:00 PM