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A morning in the field during Corona

With the Coronavirus affecting both our personal and work lives, IBO has been lucky that we are able to continue aspects of some of our spring projects with careful social distancing and precautions.

IBO’s Community Science Coordinator, Heather Hayes, lives in Adams County and has been able to continue some of our Long-billed Curlew research there. Enjoy this glimpse into her morning in the field on a ranch in Meadows Valley, Idaho.

an open grassy meadow with foggy mountains in the background. A rainbow stretches across the sky and a small dot of a Long-billed curlew can be seen walking through the meadow.

It was an early and stormy start to the morning in the field- the kind of morning where the covers of your bed are much more appealing to stay under than the raincoat you know you need to crawl into. The ranch fields were silent and the rain smelled sweet. The birds seemed to still be sleeping, wrapped in the low-lying blanket of clouds…slightly jealous, I sipped my coffee with one eye open.

As the clouds lifted, the dawn chorus slowly began with a pair of Sandhill Cranes announcing their arrival as they floated effortlessly to the ground. Snipes called from the wooden fence posts and were soon joined by Mountain Bluebirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins and a variety of swallows- some flitting about the fields stretching their wings and staking their claim. Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Harriers dotted the landscape, eyeing the thick grass for even the slightest of movements.

The sky became a patchwork of watercolored shades of blue as the sun made a brief appearance, creating a fleeting rainbow…

…directly overhead of the one who had coaxed me from my morning slumber- the Long-billed Curlew. As this female foraged under the banner of translucent colors, she eventually met up with the male and they began their mating ritual, followed thereafter by the search for the perfect spot for her to lay her eggs in the coming days.

I have observed this behavior many times throughout my “curlew career”…

…but this morning was different. I think it is because everything is different these days.

There are new words in our daily repertoire, new thought processes on staying healthy, and new creative ways to help those who have been affected most.

I have hope for the good that will (and is) coming from our new current normal. For me, it has made me more aware and, ironically enough-though socially distanced, feeling more connected in many ways, especially this morning. It is in these gentle moments that I feel the closest to nature and I can truly breathe. I just now feel like I am breathing much deeper. I hope all of you are getting a chance to grab moments like these, no matter where and no matter how…find them and just breathe ❤️