Thanks for visiting our PRBO fundraising page for this year's Bird-A-Thon. Our team is called the Lab Rats. We’re not really rats, but we are PRBO Marine Ecology Division biologists who spend most of our days in the PRBO laboratory. Most of our work is carried out here, in this fluorescent-lit room, patiently looking through microscopes for hours. It is here where we quantify and identify marine zooplankton (particularly krill), which are collected during our at-sea cruises in the Gulf of the Farallones. Krill are a vital food source for many critters such as whales, seabirds and salmon, and thus it is crucial to understand their long-term population dynamics. We also identify fish species that are dropped by Least Terns in their breeding colonies. This helps us to better understand the foraging ecology of this endangered seabird species. Since I started working for PRBO in March, I have spent the majority of my time looking through a microscope at re-hydrated regurgitated seabird pellets (think owl pellets with WAY more MUCUS!). Why you might ask would I look at this very smelly mucus (see picture)? I am in search of every elusive teeny tiny fish ear bones in the pellet ~ Yep, fish have ear bones! By looking at the often microscopic ear bones in the pellets, we can determine what fish species were found and consumed by Brant's Cormorants at various locations thought the central and northern California coast! All of these projects have thus far produced FASCINATING results and the data that we relentlessly collect in the lab contribute to some of the longest term datasets on seabird and marine ecology in the world!
Strong science is expensive. On a daily basis we are using supplies from isopropanol to identification guides. We also continually purchase special storage slides (see pic) and vials that allow us to properly store and catalogue all specimens examined, so that they can be referenced for years to come. Members of Team Lab Rats are hoping to raise funds to support the operations of the lab.
So, how does a Bird-a-thon Work?
We will be spending a day IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS and will be birding as a team of 4 to see as many bird species as possible within 24-hours. Sponsors can either donate a flat amount (e.g., $10, $25, $50), or an amount per species (e.g., $0.10/bird, $0.25/bird, $1.00/bird). If your flat or per bird donation amounts to $40 or more, you will receive a one-year PRBO membership. However, any amount will help!
For those of you donating a flat pledge, it is simple, secure, and quick to do so online by clicking on the GIVE NOW button below.
For those of you donating a per bird pledge or who prefer not to donate online, please email me the amount of your pledge at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be doing our Bird-a-thon on September 27, 2010. After we have completed the Bird-a-thon, I will contact you with details of how to make the donation.
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate, too!