For those who haven't heard the good news, the first 2016 OSU/Sisters Science Pub lecture will take place at The Belfry in Sisters on March 15. Oregon State University Ornithologist and Associate Professor Matt Betts will be sharing his research on one of the favorite birds of the Sisters Country: hummingbirds. Please pass the news along, and hurry and register.
The illustrated lecture is free, but it's necessary to RSVP, as soon as possible. (Sisters Science Club lectures fill up very quickly.) The title of Betts' lecture will be: "Hummingbird Highways: Conserving Pollination in Tropical Forest Landscapes."
As tropical forests become increasingly broken up by roads, logging, farm fields, pastures and other developments, corridors of trees providing vital pathways for pollinators — including hummingbirds — are vanishing rapidly. The same can be said for forest habitats and hummingbirds throughout North America.
Come and follow Betts' journey tracing the movement of tropical hummingbird species through patches of trees and the pollination of plants within the tree patches. The Belfry will open at 6 p.m. for refreshments and attendance to the lecture, then the lecture will begin at 7 p.m.
Rima Givot, science teacher at Sisters High School, worked with Betts as part of her master's degree program. Betts runs the Landscape Ecology Lab, Givot says. "He studies birds and has done lots of research on hummingbirds. He started the Hummingbird Citizen Science Project, which aims to look at why local hummingbird populations (specifically rufous) have been steadily declining," says Givot.
"Undergraduate students at OSU help run the project, and different partner schools in the Willamette Valley and Sisters help by collecting data following a specific protocol. The biology classes at Sisters High School have been contributing to this study for the past two years and this will be our third year to participate," Givot added. The students take home feeders to monitor how much nectar is consumed and observe the hummingbirds in the area. Then the data is reported to Betts' lab.
In addition to Betts' research in North America, "He's done quite a bit of work on hummingbirds in southern Costa Rica. I'm excited he's coming to Sisters," Givot says.
Call Christine Coffin, Director of Communications and Outreach at Oregon State University - Cascades.