PEEC goes to the birds

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Events: Center offers two bird-related classes

Spend an afternoon with local bird photographer Bob Walker and consider a variety of methods for photographing hummingbirds, from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 8.
Hummingbirds are colorful summer visitors that can be both challenging and rewarding photographic subjects. Because these little birds are adaptable, relatively fearless and easily attracted to nectar feeders, it’s possible to get nice photographs of them by temporarily turning a part of your backyard into an outdoor photo studio.
This workshop will start with a setup session showing how to prepare an outdoor studio, and will conclude with a field session in which participants can take some photos, either with their own cameras or using one that Walker will provide. Depending on the number of registrants, additional field sessions may be scheduled so that everyone who wants to take photos will get a chance to do so.
Equipment available for use at the workshop will include a camera, tripod, hummingbird feeder and camera flashes that are used for flash setups. Participants need only bring their own camera and/or CF or SDHC flash cards. Participant cameras should be able to have the shutter speed, aperture and ISO value set manually. It’s also best if the camera can focus manually and the lens should have a zoom lens with a telephoto setting equivalent to 200mm or more (6x or greater).
Walker is a 35-year resident of White Rock and is an enthusiast of the outdoors and of photography. His photography interests have concentrated mostly on sports and nature photography and he’s been interested in learning more about hummingbird photography for the last three summers. The class will take place in Walker’s White Rock yard and directions will be available with registration.
The class is $20 or $16 for members and participants can register at PajaritoEEC.org, by calling 662-0460 or emailing Programs@PajaritoEEC.org.  There are eight spaces available in the class and registration must be made by Sept.1.
Another bird-related event will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 6, when Dave Yeamans will give an updated talk at PEEC about bird banding.  The talk is free and open to the public.
Bird banding starts with getting a permit to conduct a study on birds of a particular type in a defined area. Yeamans’ talk will focus on passerines (perching birds in the areas around upper Alamo Canyon in Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera ranch headquarters). During bird migration season, researchers set up approximately 20 nets, measuring 20 meters long and 3 meters high, and then patrol the nets every half hour for captured birds.
The birds are brought to the banding station where the researchers record 20 measures of size, age, sex and condition. Then, they clamp a numbered band around the bird’s leg and release it. The data is later entered into a database for analysis that can help determine the health and distribution of the various species. Birds that are too big or too small for banding are released after a brief inspection, with opportunities for photographing them.
Yeamans’ talk will tell the story of local bird banding in photos and stories and movies.
Yeamans is a longtime bird watcher and has lately become an advocate for birding on the Pajarito Plateau. He has led many birding trips in the Los Alamos area and farther afield. He now helps band birds in Bandelier National Monument and in the Valles Caldera. He is also an active member of the PEECBirders Yahoo group, where he helps answer bird identification questions and leads informal, early-morning bird walks.
For more information about this talk, visit PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or email Programs@Pajaritoeec.org.  To join the PEECBirders Yahoo group, visit tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PEECbirders/, or search Yahoo Groups for PEECBirders (one word).