Tuesday, November 27, 2018

New Publication in Micronesica!

Check out this new publication in Micronesica! During the 2017 field season, we caught 3 brown treesnakes (BTS) that had consumed our fledgling Såli. When we analyzed the physical traits of these snakes, we found that they were all large individuals in very good body condition, suggesting that young Såli (and birds in general) may be a particularly rich meal for snakes that are used to eating smaller meals of geckos and skinks. In 2018, we caught 12 more BTS and saw the exact same pattern. In addition, we found that snakes that had recently eaten fledglings hunkered down in hollow trees for 4-6 days at a time, presumably to digest their food. These results echo those from a recent study by Siers et al. (2018), and provide important additional information about snake behavior and activity cycles – snakes that are full after a large meal are less detectable and harder to catch. This research (Wagner et al. 2018) was a collaborative effort between our entire 2017 field crew and is now available here: (http://micronesica.org/sites/default/files/wagneretal2018.pdf)!


Siers, S. R., A. A. Yackel Adams, & R. N. Reed (2018). Behavioral differences following ingestion of large meals and consequences for management of a harmful invasive snake: A field experiment. Ecology and Evolution 8: 10075-10093.

Wagner, C., C. Tappe, M. Kastner, O. Jaramillo, N. Van Ee, J. Savidge, & H.S. Pollock (2018). First recorded predation of fledgling Micronesian starlings (Aplonis opaca) by brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) on Guam. Micronesica 6: 1-7.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Bird Skull Mystery

While taking measurements at roost sites recently, there was a morbid find under a Calophyllum in an urban area on Andersen Airforce Base. It is generally a popular roost site for starlings, sparrows, and doves, but the birds above in the canopy just make the scene below them at the base of the tree seem more chilling. What looked like a graveyard for nearly 50 birds could have been a cache made by some predator lurking around base of the tree. Let us know what you think could have caused this mass grave.