Merry Christmas, SEANET!

25 12 2012

To those who celebrate, Merry Christmas from me and the Christmas lobster buoy of MA_24 (Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts)!


Happy Giving Tuesday!

27 11 2012

How about this for the top of the tree? (photo:

Feeling drained by the orgiastic spending of Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Something-or-Other Sunday, and Cyber Monday? Need to withdraw from the consumeristic melee? Here’s an opportunity to boost up your favorite organization (SEANET, I presume) by donating today on another day with a goofy name, Giving Tuesday. Here at SEANET, we keep our costs low by relying on our dedicated, uncomplaining volunteers to generate all of our data. But we do need support! Twenty dollars buys a couple boxes of rulers to measure wings, or a bunch of calipers for determining culmen and tarsus lengths. Fifty dollars pays for permission to use a few photos in our upcoming Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States. One hundred dollars gets me part of the way to a training session on Cape Cod to recruit more volunteers. Any amount helps, and we really mean it. We’re a lean, lean machine here at SEANET, and what you give matters. If you want something to wrap up and give a loved one this season, we have our ever popular SEANET t-shirts in three colors, and, for the somewhat stranger member of your family, we have the Field Guide to Beached Birds (Northeast edition). You can donate via check, or via the Tufts secure online giving form. For instructions on either, please visit our Donate page, and thank you!

I also want to offer you another option for your giving dollar. We could not do what we do here at SEANET without the support of the Wildlife Data Integration Network (WDIN) at the University of Wisconsin. Our database manager, Megan Hines, is some kind of miracle worker. And far beyond what they do for us, the WDIN has several invaluable projects going on, many of which I use daily. Their Wildlife Disease News Digest is my daily source for what’s brewing in wildlife populations all over the world. Cris Marsh and company do an incredible job of poring over a huge volume of information and distilling it for readers. As a blogger myself, I have a deep appreciation for what they do. None of what the WDINers do is cheap, so I strongly encourage you to support their very fine work this holiday season!

Happy shopping, and above all, happy giving!

More on eider movements

27 09 2012

A brief addition to Tuesday’s post: Josh has provided a link to this video that explains a bit more about the nature of the eider study. Unfortunately, Josh himself is not featured here, but the faculty members he works with give a good overview of the reasons for the study and how it’s done. And of course, the seaside footage is gorgeous! Even at 3am, and in the bitter cold, not a bad place to work.


Superstar Seanetter publishes zillionth book.

14 08 2012

You Seanetters never fail to astound me. It’s humbling to find that many, if not most of you, have several other fascinating projects, passions and commitments outside of the time you devote to our little endeavor. Indeed, I often say I want to be like you guys when I grow up. Seanetter John Galluzzo, with whom I was lucky enough to walk down in Duxbury MA last week, is just such a guy. He has written over thirty books in his not very long life, and shows no sign of stopping or even slackening his pace.

He has a new one out now, called Half an Hour a Day Across Massachusetts, chronicling his 2009 quest to walk for 30 minutes each day in all the towns and cities of the Commonwealth. Of particular narcissistic interest, John tells me SEANET makes into this volume. I’ll be reading John’s book for sure, and I hope some of you will join me so that we can hold some sort of virtual book club here in our virtual SEANET living room.

Congrats on your latest tome, John! You Seanetters make me so proud!

Dead shearwaters on shore leave

21 06 2012

Here they come…

I am hard at work, this summer, on the Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States. Right now, I am immersed in, and confounded by, the seemingly endless and extensive plumages of waterfowl. So, as a break for my feeble intellect, I am turning to a subject about which I know comparatively more: the annual die-offs of Greater Shearwaters.

Right on schedule, reports are coming in now from Florida of both Greater and Cory’s Shearwaters turning up either dead or nearly so. The Brevard County News is reporting over one hundred shearwaters dead or in extremis on Florida’s Space Coast. Most of those that have been taken to wildlife clinics have not survived. The Offshore Wildlife blog reports that the birds began turning up on Florida beaches after a stretch of sustained, strong winds offshore.

This seasonal pattern is predictable, and generally involves mostly juvenile birds who seem to fail to find enough food to sustain them on their long migration north from their hatching places in the southern Atlantic. The magnitude of the die-offs does vary year to year, and early reports from Florida suggest that this may be a big one. Our new SEANET force in North Carolina should brace themselves, as they will be expected to see the carcasses over the next week or so. Here in New England, we generally don’t get shearwaters until July.

Seanetters should maintain their usual walk schedules through these events, but if you see large numbers of dead birds when you aren’t on a designated walk, or on a stretch of beach that isn’t your normal turf, please send me an email (and photos are, of course, always welcome) so we can try to get a better picture of what’s going on out there.

To all our readers, Happy Summer Solstice, and with it, Happy Shearwater Season!

14 06 2012


I would like to call this a sensible reuse of content and not simple laziness. You Seanetters will obviously know about SEANET already, but the other Citizen Science projects I write about in this post on my personal blog may be of interest to you as well. After all, if you’ll volunteer for dead seabirds, why not roadkill too?

Originally posted on thestagecoachroad:

As the Director of a volunteer based citizen science project, I have been most gratified to see the status of programs like mine rise in recent years. Data collected by average people used to be largely dismissed as unreliable junk science. Fortunately, scientists seem to be gradually relinquishing this snobbery and finding uses for projects that used to be relegated to the sidelines. My project, the Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) is among the more rigorous programs out there, requiring regular trips to a designated beach year-round, and further requiring the handling of seabird carcasses in various phases of decomposition. We are always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you live anywhere near the Atlantic from Maine to Florida, we’ll take you.

If dead birds aren’t your thing, or if SEANET is too demanding, there are new citizen science opportunities cropping up all the time, many requiring nothing beyond…

View original 398 more words

SEANET Blog hits the 400 mark!

7 06 2012

Where the magic happens: coffee, NPR, Sibley and the Beached Bird Guide are all I really need.

I know this is shameless self promotion, but I’ve watched so many blogs start up, go strong for a couple weeks or months, and then fade away into oblivion. Not so, the SEANET blog! Today’s post is my 400th since I started this project in 2008. I mainly credit you, our active and engaged readership, for pushing me to post every couple days.

And now, to your thunderous applause, I will go get another cup of coffee.


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