I’ve officially completed my first week in the beautiful Southwest! Now that I am settled in, I would like to share a little more about the beautiful park I will be working at this summer. My Biology Technician internship takes place at Capulin Volcano National Monument in northeast New Mexico. The park was established on August 9, 1916 under the direction of President Woodrow Wilson, and is a smaller park at approximately 790 acres. Capulin is symmetrical cinder cone volcano that lies within an 8,000 square mile volcanic field. This means that we are a part of a huge volcanic landscape including cinder cones, domes, mesas, tuff rings, and a shield volcano, which started erupting approximately 9 million years ago. What makes Capulin unique is the exceptional condition it is in. Because the volcano is geologically very young (approximately 55,000 years old) it hasn’t been subject the amount of erosion many of the other volcanos have. This gives our visitors the chance to walk the rim and into the mouth of an intact and representative cinder cone volcano.
I can already tell it is going to be a busy summer, filled with fun projects and exciting research. This last week has been packed with various trainings, including catching and releasing hummingbirds using Hall traps. This task will play a significant role in my projects this summer (more on that next week!), and I got to use my new skills this last weekend. On Saturday June 2nd, we joined Sugarite Canyon State Park (approximately 30 miles from Capulin) in celebrating International Migratory Bird Day. We set up our Hall traps and banded birds in front of park guests, and shared information about hummingbirds, migration, and research. The most meaningful part of the event was seeing how excited the kids were to view the birds up close, and with our help, release them back to the wild. We even had one family that said they wanted to come back and volunteer with us at Capulin, it’s amazing to see how one event can make such an impact. Overall a very eventful and exciting week! Come back next week when I’ll share specifics on the projects I will be working on and how they relate to hummingbirds both locally and internationally.