25 July, 1998

7/25/98 Out and About Fairbanks

***Renee tours - Alaska Bird Observatory - Fairbanks Golden Days - Large Animal Research Station - Ester Dome - laundry ***

Renee Crain (ARCUS) came by at about 9:00 A.M. We are staying in dorm rooms at the University of Alaska. Renee took us to the Alaska Bird Observatory where we met with Anna-Marie Benson and Amy Weiss, who demonstrated bird banding techniques. This banding station is part of the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program. Fairbanks is one of countless sites for this ongoing project. The birds to be banded are captured unharmed in stationary mist nets. As we watched, Anna-Maria took vital statistics for each bird and Amy showed us how to release the birds. The data collected on the birds is sent to a central clearinghouse (National Bird Banding Laboratory) where it can be added to a database and matched with the bird if it is recaptured.

At 11:00 A.M. we went downtown to watch the parade at Fairbanks Golden Days. The parade was pretty wild with a diverse group of floats and marchers and with a distinctly frontier flavor.

At 1:30 Renee took us to the University of Alaska's LARS (Large Animal Research Station) facility, that is sponsored by IAB (Institute of Arctic Biology). University of Alaska graduate student Morgan Roberts gave us a tour and explained about the university's reindeer, muskox and caribou herds. Morgan was impressively knowledgeable, touching on many aspects of these animals' behavior and biology. From LARS, Renee took us on a sightseeing road trip, which took in a lot of Alaskan scenery including spectacular views from Ester Dome.

Aaron and I spent a relaxed evening doing laundry and catching up on journals. We really could use some rest.


Today was a day of relaxation compared to our many hours of digging back in Deering. It's amazing how fast our two weeks there went by. I can remember in school looking forward to vacations and having to wait two weeks. It was an eternity. In Deering it really flew by.

Fairbanks is fun, and it is great to meet back up with our wonderful guide Renee Crain. She once again led us around to see the sights. I'm excited to meet up with the Seward River Otter students and teachers tomorrow. Now it is time for some much needed sleep.

Amy and Anna-Marie of the Alaska Bird Observatory with Aaron in front of the banding station.

Amy preparing for the release of a juvenile orange-crowned warbler.

Morgan in front of the muskoxen.

Compare and contrast: caribou on the left and reindeer on the right. Both are the same species and can breed to produce fertile offspring. Caribou have longer legs and virtually never exhibit the white pigmentation seen in this reindeer.

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