Peterson Nature Area first nest of the new year 2013
Just after the New Year, the quiet in the Peterson nature Area was broken by periodic whooping sounds of male Anna’s Hummingbirds diving in front of passively perched female hummingbirds. The male was climbing 30 to 60 feet above the females and then vertically diving and pulling up just in front of the females. As the male pulled up out of the dive the tail feathers violently vibrate creating the whooping sound. At the same instant he reflected the bright sunlight off his red metallic throat feathers. The display was repeated over and over until the female moved off or the male lost interest due to the energy spent courting the female. The male may repeat his dive dance as many as 8 to 10 times.
The male dive dances are an indication that the females are beginning to build their delicate one and a half inch nests. In the Peterson Nature Area, the nests are constructed mostly out of spider webs and cattail fluff. Once the major construction is finished, the female hummingbird will camouflage the sides of the nest with bits of leaves and lichen. On the 2nd of January of this New Year, I found a nest just being finished. I spent the following day recording the last of the construction. Go to the Nature Area web server at http://www.peterson.scusd.net/hummingbirdnestcon.mov and your class will be able to view my four-minute video clip of that last day of construction.
Once the eggs are deposited, we will commence broadcasting from the nest site every day, rain or shine from 8:00 AM to 2:35 PM. To view the live nest activities, have your class go to http://10.132.10.13 No logon or password is needed to view the camera. Please do not view for long periods of time for the camera can only support 15 viewers at a time. Visit the site for ten minutes or so and then allow another class to make observations. At this time, only computers located inside the district firewall will be allowed to view the nest activities. If all goes well for the nesting female, we will run the camera until the young hummingbirds fledge the nest. But remember, most nests DO NOT successfully fledge young. Predators eat 50 to 60 percent of the eggs and young. Here in the Nature Area, Tree Squirrels and Jays eat most of the eggs and young. The low recruitment rate for the Anna’s Hummingbird population is part of the lession. Students should be prepared for that reality. There is no legislation for NO HUMMINGBIRD left behind.
Enjoy the experience that technology gives us.
Bryan Osborne and Nancy Fohner
The Current Peterson Nature Area Weather Pages
The Peterson Nature Area host two different automatic Davis weather stations. One is located on the east side of the Nature Area overlooking the fresh water marsh and the second weather station is located on the west side of the Nature Area on top of the Dan Baer Science building. The weather stations operated 24 hours a day and can be accessed here and at the Peterson Middle School opening page. To access the Peterson Middle School weather sites and past historical data, go to the Peterson Nature Area weather station page.
Please contact Mrs. Fohner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-2941 if you are interested in scheduling a field trip to the Nature Area. We have standards-based, grade level field trips.
Nature Area Guides 2012-2013
The first meeting of the Nature Area Guides will be on Sept. 12, 2012 at lunch in the Nature Area. New guides must have their applications to Mrs. Fohner by Wed., Sept. 5 to receive an invitation to the first meeting and a lunch pass. Please email Mrs. Fohner at email@example.com if you have any questions.!
Field Trip Signup
Many grade-level, standards-based field trips are available in the Nature Area. Please contact Nancy Fohner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-2941 to schedule a field trip. Field trips run from 12:10-1:30.
Peterson Nature Area live streaming video feeds
Deep water pond camera This PTZ camera over looks the deep water pond
Black Phoebe nest camera This stationary camera views the Black Phoebe nest that was built under the over hang of the one of the server sheds
Hawk tower camera This PTZ camera views one of the favorite hawk perching locations on the south side of the Nature Area. login <student> password <student> PCs will require an Active X applet. Macs need no additional software.Follow your screen instructions. The camera was made by Vivotek located in Sunnyvale California.
Bluebird internal nest camera This camera views the inside of a Bluebird box. We used an IR LED camera for nocturnal observation.
Fresh water marsh camera This PTZ camera over looks the shallow fresh water marsh on the east side of the nature Area.
The Black Phoebes have resided in the Peterson Nature Area for the past 26 years and with the aid of modern technology we have been able to broadcast the nesting events for the past eight years. The camera we are using is NOT a LED equipped cam. You will not be able to see the nocturnal nest activity.
Go to http://bpn.scusd.net and watch the four baby Black Phoebes compete for the parents attention when food is brought to the nest.
(Just Added 7 June) I am sorry to report that all four young baby Black Phoebes were found dead. Chances are one of the adults was eaten by a Sharp Shinned Hawk. There has been a Sharp Shinned Hawk hunting in the facility. Their primary food is other birds. A visiting elementary class saw a Sharp Shinned Hawk pick off a Black Phoebe in mid air. We will keep the camera on to see if the nest is used again.
Western Bluebird nest on line 24/7 in Peterson nature Area
The Bluebirdspopulated the Peterson Nature Area shortly after various species of woodpeckers created the first nesting cavities in the first dead standing trees. While broadcasting the comings and goings of the adult Bluebirds from the outside of the cavities, we could NEVER see what was happening on the inside of the nesting cavity. That all changed this last spring when several engineering students developed a camera method that tied into the Nature Area’s local area network. Using a 14-year-old Macintosh computer and a very small LED camera, the students of the Santa Clara Unified School District can now monitor the events from inside a nesting box. Due to the cooler than normal temperatures, the Bluebirdsare just now finishing their nest construction.
By going to http://underwater.scusd.net, observers can monitor the inside of the Bluebird nest. As of 5 June, there are still no eggs in the nest. The birds do come into the nest to drop off nest material. We will keep the camera operational until the end of July.
Wildlife videos produced at the Peterson Nature Area by Bryan Osborne
NATURE CENTER NEWS – SPRING 2011
The last eight weeks have been cooler and wetter than “normal”. As a result, the plant and animal populations in the Nature Area have responded in a number of different ways. For the very first time, University of Santa Claraengineering students have helped with new projects in the Peterson Nature Area. The campus research facility has had a reproductive population of Western Bluebirdsfor the last ten years. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and must have a previously created tree cavity from a woodpecker or a bird box in order reproduce; no cavities means no reproduction.
The Bluebirdspopulated the Nature Area shortly after various species of woodpeckers created the first nesting cavities in the first dead standing trees. While broadcasting the comings and goings of the adult Bluebirds from the outside of the cavities, we could NEVER see what was happening on the inside of the nesting cavity. That all changed this last spring when several engineering students developed a camera method that tied into the Nature Area’s local area network. Using a 14-year-old Macintosh computer and a very small LED camera, the students of the Santa Clara Unified School District can now monitor the events from inside a nesting box. Due to the cooler than normal temperatures, the Bluebirdsare just now finishing their nest construction. We hope the students will see the first eggs before school is out.
With the release of the first Google Chrome booksand with the help of Mrs. Fohner, we are very pleased to announce that the Peterson Nature Area has received a “grant donation” of 100 of the wireless netbooks from Google. Since four wireless access points cover the entire Nature Area, students will now be able to complete new environmental lessons on the Internet while they are collecting and logging data. Furthermore, if the students need additional information to examine a problem or question, there is no need to leave the facility. The Google Chrome bookswill have net access as the students move from lab station to lab station in the Nature Area. The six and half hour batteries will allow the Chrome books to be used for an academic day without recharging. At the end of the day, the units will be stored and charged in the soon-to-be-renovated D wing.
Lastly, through a $15,000 grant awarded by Intelthrough the district office, the Nature Area and Peterson Middle School will receive a multimedia 87-inch Smart Boardthat will interface with our research microscopes. This interface will allow our classes to view marvelous live video from pond samples that student-grade equipment could not rival. In addition, the grant will provide 17 stand alone data-acquisition recorders. These units are programmed by computers, removed from the computers and placed in the Nature Area to collected selected abiotic environmental data such as temperature, relative humidity, light energy and barometric pressure. The data loggers are collected at the end of the lab and the recorded data can be downloaded in Excel for analysis. Lastly, some of the money will be used to allow other schools from within the district to use the unique facilities that we have here at Peterson Middle School.