Seventh Week

Seventh Week

This week was like a final sprint to the line. There was much work to be done in a small time frame. Samples were weighed, measured, washed, and extracted. We often had more than 50 samples at various stages of the process. It was a lot to keep track of, so half of my notes were from this week alone. In the week I was gone, it was found that the DMA requires more mass than previously believed to accurately calculate mercury in feathers specifically. This complicated things for a couple samples, but overall wasn’t too much.

Extractions were the main focus of this week. I also reweighed feathers post-extraction. This mass will not account for any dirt or oil that may have affected the pre-wash weight. The only trouble was with the scale. Measuring to the 10th of a milligram means that even thinking heavy thoughts might shift the weight. This is what took the most time, but the extraction luckily didn’t require much attention.

I also learned how to band birds. It was a rewarding experience in regards to my learning, but it was also very hectic.

This was my last week, so I will be heading home now. The grad student with whom I worked will be taking over the rest of the wren experiment for the summer and beyond.