Some days, it pays to be a bird biologist…

…especially when you get to fly! As the biologist who is responsible for the Estuary Restoration Project surveys, I had the very great pleasure of being able to take to the skies in the name of science last week.

In my day-to-day responsibilities, which are decidedly earthbound, I survey intertidal marshes for birds in a pair of chest waders, frequently sinking past my knees in mud. These surveys are a snapshot into how birds utilize different habitat, specifically pre- and post-restoration marshes and agricultural fields.

However, I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the big picture.

Skagit Valley from a bird’s eye view. Note the tulips blooming in the left hand corner at the top.

During the spring migration, thousands of shorebirds travel from the warmer latitudes to the northern climes to breed. Species like Dunlin and Western Sandpipers flock together by the thousands, stopping in places like Fir Island Farms and Leque to catch a quick bite to eat before heading north again.