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The birds at Ripon College, especially osprey and eastern bluebirds, are under close surveillance as part of research, teaching, and community outreach by Memuna Khan, Associate Professor in Biology.
Memuna established the Ripon College Bluebird Trail (RCBT) in 2006 to provide original research opportunities for students at the College. Undergraduate students monitor the RCBT every year from early April through mid-August each year. They learn how to collect detailed data and how to band birds. Student projects include measuring the impact of food supplements on the growth rates of nestlings, behavioral responses of bluebirds to territorial intrusions by nest competitors, and analyzing the impact of weather on reproductive success. Data from the RCBT has contributed to other projects, such as the national Sparrow Swap project.
The RCBT is also available as an outdoor classroom for local K-12 students. Third graders in Mrs. Pokorny’s classroom at Murray Park Elementary School monitor three boxes of the RCBT each year. Most years, these students have been able to observe nesting, hatching, and bird banding before the school year ends. Boxes at Barlow Park and near the middle school and high school are also available as guided teaching tools.
Memuna is a federally and state licensed bird bander and the Fond du Lac County Coordinator for the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin. She and her students have banded over 2000 eastern bluebirds since 2006. Since 2010 she has partnered with the Green Lake Bird and Nature Club to band locally nestling osprey and share these experiences with the community.
If you are interested in learning more about setting up a bluebird trail, arranging a banding demonstration, or becoming involved with the RCBT please contact Memuna by filling out our form.
Osprey are a migratory raptor that return to Wisconsin in mid-April each year.
Eastern Bluebirds are a migratory songbird that readily nest in human provided nest boxes.