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The Spoonbill, Vol. 24, No. 11, March 1975
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The Spoonbill, Vol. 24, No. 11, March 1975 - Image 1. March 1975. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 22, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/1130/show/1120.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1975). The Spoonbill, Vol. 24, No. 11, March 1975 - Image 1. Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/1130/show/1120

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Spoonbill, Vol. 24, No. 11, March 1975 - Image 1, March 1975, Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 22, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/1130/show/1120.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Spoonbill, Vol. 24, No. 11, March 1975
Alternative Title The Spoonbill, Vol. XXIV, No. 11, March 1975
Contributor (Local)
  • Jones, Margaret
Publisher Outdoor Nature Club
Date March 1975
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Ornithology
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • newsletters
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 2007-023, Box 10, Folder 22
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/9860
Original Collection Outdoor Nature Club Records
Digital Collection Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://libraries.uh.edu/branches/special-collections/
Use and Reproduction No Copyright - United States
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Image 1
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_2007_023_b010_f022_003_001.jpg
Transcript % (_c-_- Volume XXIV, No. II March, 1975 PUBLISHED BY THE ORNITHOLOGY GROUP, OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB, HOUSTON TEXAS ROOSTING RICE-BIRDS by Dr. Dan M. Johnson In February I960, Vic Emanuel reported the arrival of 20,000 brown-headed cowbirds on the Rice University campus (Spoon b 111 8CM):4). Both Vic and the cowbirds departed that spring. For the next five years alumni recall pigeons, great-tailed grackles, and barn owls, but no roosting cowbirds. Jim Ellis' report of 200,000 birds near North Blvd. In March 1963 (Spoonbill ll(ll):6) Indicates that they were never far away. The barn owls were eliminated as a 'nuisance' in May 1965, shortly after Margaret Anderson had watched them feeding young. Some say the cowbirds' return In 1966 was Athena's revenge for that unconcionable crime against her creatures; if so, her vengeance has been fierce! For the last ten winters, a 'blackbird' roost has formed In live oak trees on campus, and a nightly rain of vengeance-drops has pelted sidewalks, gardens, parking lots, scholars and lovers. The magnitude of the problem has Increased over the years. In January 1970, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted It's nationwide survey of roosts, there were 15,000 cowbirds ifl trees around the Chemistry lab; since 1971, the roost has occupied most of the campus, including the area around the President's home, and the birds have numbered in the hundreds of thousands or more (our estimate for early February 1975 was 1.24 million). Where have they come from? In 1970 the major roost In Harris County (1.6 million birds) was In a wooded area near the corner of W. 18th and Seamist, a favorite birding spot known well to Avis Brister and the brothers Cureton. Clearing of that woods began in 1970-71, coincident with a dramatic Increase In the roosting Rlce-blrd nuisance. The old traditional site, though much diminished, Is still occupied by the early-roosting birds from September to December; then the whole roost moves to Rice together. This year the big move came between Christmas and New Year's, just In time to greet s+udents returning from the hoiidays. Though I arrived at Rice wlwilrds In 1970-71, I was not Immediately fascinated by them. I am not an ornithologist, but a population ecologlst Interested In the Influence of predacious Insects (especially damselfly larvae) on prey populations. It was only two years ago that I realized what a unique educational and research opportunity was being provided by the cowbirds' annual visit. Since then the students In Population Ecology Lab, who seem much more fascinated by birds than bugs, have been monitoring death rates, estimating population size, and observing social behavior within the roost. We hope to understand what influences mortality of over-wintering bird populations. What are the causes of death—weather?, starvation? diseases? or pesticides? Are death rates density-dependent? Does a social hierarchy Influence which birds die? Whatever the reason, male cowbirds seem to be particularly susceptible, especially In February and March. This year birds from particular locations within the campus have been banded and marked with colored plastic leg streamers: dark blue, light blue, and white. We are hoping to learn whether those roosting in different areas also feed in different areas during the day. Thanks to the Houston Post, the Spoonbill, and the Interest of many 0G members, we've been getting a remarkably high number of sightings of color-marked birds. (Laura Greenbaum was not only the first to spot one of our streamers, but Is also the undisputed champion with more than 50 sightings reported!) Bruce McDonnel and Philip Samuels, who are doing the banding as a senior research project, will have more to report on their findings In a later Spoonbl11■ But one aspect of the data is Intriguing, because It may provide a clue to the reason why male cowbirds have particularly high death rates. Though the ratio of males to females banded Is 4 to I, the ratio sighted at feeders has been 8 to I. Does this Indicate that males have a different feeding strategy? Could that difference explain why males out number females