Recently Ken and I spent a day with Dr. Gary Shugart at the Slater Museum of Natural History learning the techniques of retrieving the stomach contents of birds. Not for the squeamish, but it was an incredibly educational experience. I didn’t realize how much I missed science classes.

Along with learning how to sex the birds, determine age, and rate the overall health of the bird, we were taught how to identify the proventriculus (were the gastric juices are produced) and the ventriculus (were the food grinding takes place).

All of this is in preparation of our expedition to Augustine Island and the continuing Ikkatsu Project. As part of our partnership with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, we’ll be retrieving, documenting and bringing back the contents of the stomach to any birds we find along the shoreline.

The project is coming together but the cost of operating in a remote area of Alaska are substantial. We are still in need of funding. I’d ask you to consider becoming a part of our mission by go to our Indiegogo campaign and making a donation; large or small as every bit helps.

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Although only separated by a short drive, eastern and western Washington couldn’t be on more opposite sides of the spectrum; cool wet temperate rain forests vs. dry, hot desert. However, a visit to this desert has been on my to-do list for some time and I was anxious to explore and camp  over on this side of the mountains, plus there was the added bonus of a visit to the famous Palouse Falls.

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