Who eats who?

Southeast food pyramids

When you catch a fish, do you open its stomach to learn about its last few meals? If you hunt grouse or mallards, do you examine crops? Before enjoying the first tenderloin from guwakaan, the peace keeper (Sitka black-tailed deer), do you search for plant fragments on the back of its tongue, or open the rumen—that magic sack that converts the mostly-humanly-inedible flora of our bioregion into the tastiest meat on the planet?

One of the oldest books in my natural history library is American wildlife & plants: A guide to wildlife food habits. Martin, Zim & Nelson, 1951. The reason it remains relevant 65 years later, while other ecological works of the period have been supplanted, is that nowadays people look askance at shooting a couple hundred herons just to see what’s in their stomachs. (43% non-game fish, 25% “useful species,” 8% each of insects & crayfish, 5% mice & shrews, 4% herps)

The trophic diagram below shows why salt marshes—constituting less than 1% of our land mass—are so essential to resident and migratory species from land and sea. Dashed arrow lines lead from eaten to eater:

saltmarsh-foodweb

 

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Hotspots: Bird Survey of Mendenhall Wetlands (April 2002 to May 2003)

This report is the culmination of eighteen bird surveys conducted in the Mendenhall Wetlands, an area widely recognized as an important habitat for migrating birds.  The survey results are complimented by GIS maps, graphs, and extensive habitat descriptions.  Looking towards the future, this report also addresses concerns about habitat use and destruction in the Wetlands.

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Winter 2006 Newsletter, Sitka deer: Thoughts and field notes

In the Winter 2006 newsletter you’ll find an essay from Richard Carstensen on his connection to Sitka Black Tailed Deer.  You’ll also find sketches from Kathy Hocker’s field notebook, and discovery news.

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