Living the high life 

Naturalist speaker studies the fragile existence of alpine birds and wildlife.

What: Whistler Naturalists Speaker Series

Who: Dr. Kathy Martin presents: Getting By or Flying High — The Challenges of being an Alpine Animal

Where: Millennium Place

When: Thursday, April 22, 7:30 p.m.

Life in the high alpine can be challenging at times, to make the ecological understatement of the year. The summers are short, the weather is extreme, and food sources can be scarce at times.

Still, a wide variety of highly specialized alpine birds and mammals have managed to adapt to this challenging ecosystem, forging unique relationships with the species around them.

Dr. Kathy Martin is the only scientist in Canada devoted to the study of alpine birds, and she has published numerous studies on the subject through her position as a professor with the Department of Forest Sciences at UBC. She also works with the Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Canadian Wildlife Service.

She will be giving a presentation this Thursday, April 22 as part of the Whistler Naturalists Speaker Series. Her presentation is titled: Getting By or Flying High: The Challenges of being an Alpine Mammal. The event is sponsored by the Whistler Naturalists and admission is by donation.

Her current research interests include:

• Nest Webs – cavity nesting bird community dynamics in natural and managed forests in relation to forest cutting regimes and natural disturbance events;

• Ecology, life history and conservation of birds in high elevation habitats;

• Metapopulation and demographic rescue processes for bird populations in alpine habitats;

• Avian use of alpine habitats during migration;

• Effectiveness of avian monitoring programs to reflect population trends;

• Ecology of alpine and forest birds;

• Post harvesting responses of cavity nesters and songbirds.

Dr. Martin’s presentation in Whistler will touch not only on our different species of alpine birds and mammals but also on the impact of humans on their terrain, including air-borne contaminants from urban centres, nitrogen deposition from farming areas and recreational pressures from heli-skiing and or backcountry camping.

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