Last week Debbie and Nathan installed three acoustic monitoring stations on the ranch. These devices will record the call notes of migratory birds as they fly south at night. We will use special software to analyze the sound files and make species identifications. Debbie and Nathan placed a station near each of our bird-banding sites, installing one near the floodplain, one near a mid-elevation shrubby draw, and one near the summit of Mt. Baldy. We will compare the species detected along this elevation gradient. We will also compare the species captured in mist nets during the day (and presumably using the ranch as stopover habitat) to those that simply pass over.
In the future, we will use acoustic monitoring stations to detect other species of interest, including common poorwills, common nighthawks, and flammulated owls.
Kate graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology in 2000. She pursued a M.S. in Forestry at the University of Montana where her thesis focused on the habitat associations of snowshoe hares on U.S. National Forest land in Western Montana. After completing her M.S. degree in 2003, Kate alternated between various field biology jobs in the summer and writing for the U.S. Forest Service in the winter. Her fieldwork included projects on small mammal response to weed invasions, the response of bird communities to bark beetle outbreaks and targeted surveys for species of concern like the black-backed woodpecker and the Northern goshawk. Writing topics ranged from the ecology and management of western larch to the impacts of fuels reduction on riparian areas.
Kate coordinates bird-related research at the MPG Ranch. She is involved in both original research and facilitating the use of the Ranch as a study site for outside researchers. Additionally, Kate is the field trip coordinator and website manager for the Bitterroot Audubon Society. She also enjoys gardening and biking in her spare time.