Field Trip to Philly's Academy of Natural Sciences

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the world's biggest Blue-grey Gnatcatcher. Photo by Kelly Ball.
Part of our team's strategy for this outing included a dinner beforehand in which we ate three times more Dim Sum than reasonable for our small group. Photo by Kelly Ball.

Late afternoon this past February 16, David La Puma, Mike Lanzone, Trish Miller, and Kelly Ball embarked upon a road trip to Philadelphia, PA, to the Academy of Natural Sciences . As contributors to one of the displays, we were invited to attend the opening night of their new exhibit, Conversations With Birds. The exhibit, conveniently scheduled to coincide with spring migration through June 4, showcases local and migratory bird populations in urban Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Featured is photography and video by Anwar Abdul Qawi and Tom Johnson; specimen preparation by bird scientists; streaming footage from a local Peregrine Falcon nest cam; an overview of bird window collisions throughout the city's history; and innovative bird tracking technology. 


Several displays are interactive, such as this one, which invites visitors to select photos of species like Semipalmated Plovers, Swainson's Thrush, or Sharp-shinned Hawk to chart their migratory paths. Photo by Kelly Ball.  
One of many fun features on the video wall: a Brown Creeper doing its thing. Photo by Kelly Ball.
When the museum's Associate Curator of Ornithology, Jason Weckstein, and Senior Exhibition Designer, Lauren Duguid, approached our Sales & Marketing team last autumn to see if we'd be up for loaning some of our cool gear to fill out their Technology Tracking display, we were super excited and honored to participate. 
David and Mike spoke with the Associate Curator of Ornithology, Jason Weckstein, about the population genetics of Sharp-shinned Hawks (SSHA) in Central and South America. Shown here directly in front of Jason are sample specimens of SSHA from different locations in that region. Photo by Kelly Ball.

A trio of birding legends! David La Puma, Tom Johnson, and Mike Lanzone chat while a beautiful video installation (provided in part by Tom!) streams birds commonly seen in the Philly area. Photo by Kelly ball. 
One exhibit case provides a synopsis of Philadelphia's bird window collisions over time. The card shown here reads in part: "The Academy has been studying the issue of 'window kills' in Philadelphia for over a century. When City Hall tower was first illuminated in the 1890s, people began finding dead birds at the foot of the building. The phenomenon made the news at the time and attracted the attention of the Academy's Curator of Ornithology, Witmer Stone, who salvaged many birds as specimens. We have been collecting this birds ever since." Photo by Kelly Ball.
Nate Rice, the collection manager of the Ornithology Collection, demoed proper technique for preparing bird skins. Here he removes the brain from a Northern Parula. The bird was collected after a fatal window collision. Photo by Kelly Ball. 
After meeting with the museum team and conferring internally, we identified what gear would work best for this request: a v3 SensorStation and Node; Digital UHF radio units (LifeTag, PowerTag, and HybridTag); GPS/Cellular units (ES-400 and ES-420), and Cellular-only units (FlickerCL), with insights into the differences between each transmitter type.
CEO Mike proudly stands next to the display case containing several of CTT's transmitter technology, including LifeTag, PowerTag, and HybridTag); GPS/Cellular units (ES-400 and ES-420), and Cellular-only units (FlickerCL), with insights into the differences between each transmitter type.
Mike, Kelly, and David sneak in their photo ops! 
Congratulations to all of the staff and contributors who made this exhibit possible!