Thanks to Heidi Ware's last email, seventh grade is relieved to know that some of our eastern Idaho, Wyoming and Montana bound curlews are not dead in Mexico as we thought. Zooming in to the map closely we found that E.T. and Goldi are happily moving around wetlands in Baja California, AJ, Lady and Zarapita are over the border and moving well into Arizona, although not yet at their high elevation breeding grounds. Today the class investigated the different sites and responded to Heidi's question, "What is different about the eastern breeding grounds compared to the ACEC, near Emmett. Some responses:
"The birds who spend their breeding and summers here have made their way home because it is warm. The Wyoming and Montana birds aren't home yet because their home is cold. A few days ago my friend was in Wyoming, and while I was here (Boise), outside, I was hot and she was watching snow fall out of the window. Curlews eat bugs; bugs come out in 60 degree F weather, but not in the snow. Emmett (ACEC) is about 2,500 feet elevation above sea level, but the Montana and Wyoming breeding grounds are nearly 7000 feet elevation."
Ainsley: "I've noticed , based on the weather forcast for yesterday, that Montana is quite chilly right now. There was even a chance of snow! Spring hasn't exactly started in Wyoming yet. So I can infer that the curlews from Montana and Wyoming haven't left Mexico and Arizona because it's not warm enough to find food once they get to their north destination. Today (Wed 4/6), some birds are moving north (finally), like Dave, A.J. and Zarapita, and Goldie were all still in Mexico and Arizona. Today Mexicali, Mexico, had a high temperature of 93F, but in Montana near the MPG Ranch the high temperature was 47 F , and in Wyoming and eastern Idaho, it was cold, windy and snowfalls predicted with high temperatures of 46F. Emmett Idaho, where our local curlews are already home and "flirting", it was 58 to 60 degrees F and getting warmer. Montana's and Wyomings breeding grounds are 3,365 feet to 7,087 feet elevation compared to Emmett's 2431ft. Since MT and WY are so much high up, then it will take longer for everything to melt and the breeding grounds to be ready"