Welcome to the May 2008 Alderleaf eNewsletter from Alderleaf Wilderness College!

In this issue...

1.) Interpreting Bird Language in the Spring
Deciphering bird language in the spring can be complex but also the most fun...

2.) Alderleaf Acquires a Permanent Home!
Alderleaf purchased a 15-acre property that has both wilderness and farm land...

3.) Tracker Evaluations and Trailing Course
Mark Elbroch and Adriaan Louw will be offering tracker evaluations in October...

4.) Alderleaf Receives a Vocational License
The Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program becomes approved as a state-licensed vocational program...

5.) Employment Opportunity at Alderleaf
Alderleaf Wilderness College is hiring a full-time, year-round instructor/administrator position...




May Feature: Interpreting Bird Language in the Spring

Many people in hunter-gather cultures could interpret bird calls to determine where predators, game, and humans were on the landscape. This Traditional Ecological skill helped them avoid dangers, find food, and know more about their surroundings. Understanding bird language is one of the skills taught at Alderleaf.

Deciphering bird language in the spring can often be complex but also lots of fun. With spring, comes the return of many summer residents, such as the Swainson's Thrush pictured above. These additional species add many more sounds to identify and interpret. Spring is also the time of year when birds are claiming territory, breeding, and raising young, which also adds several different types of vocalizations to the mix of sounds on the landscape.

These spring factors combine to create a complex soundscape throughout the forest. Spring also provides the most variety of interesting activity to observe.

A good place to begin learning bird language is by focusing on common ground feeding birds. Ground-feeding birds can be the most useful allies for learning bird language, as they are concerned with what is happening near the ground where large animals and people pass by. Some of the best ground-feeding birds to study for bird language include the song sparrow, winter wren, spotted towhee, dark-eyed junco, and American robin. To start, we recommend picking up a good bird sounds CD and studying the vocalizations of just these core species. Learn to identify both their songs and call notes.

Also, read our article, Using Bird Sounds to Locate Animals , which explains the different types of calls, including alarm calls, which often indicate the presence of a predator or human. Spring is exciting because its the time of year with the most male-to-male aggression calls and the only time of year where juvenile begging calls are used. Telling these calls apart from alarm calls can be challenging, yet entertaining, such as observing a young juvenile chase its parents around begging to be fed like a baby bird.

The next step is to choose a study area, where you can sit, listen, and watch the birds as often as possible. Your understanding of bird language will grow with your research and observations. Also, stay tuned... Alderleaf will be offering a bird language course in Spring 2009!





Alderleaf Acquires a Permanent Home!

Alderleaf purchased a 15-acre property that has both wilderness and farm land. It provides classrooms, an office, cabins, and more. You can find out more at our campus webpage:

The New Alderleaf Campus





Tracker Evaluations and Trailing Course

Mark Elbroch and Adriaan Louw will be offering tracker evaluations in October:

Adriaan Louw of South Africa will be evaluating trackers in two separate trailing evaluations. One is being held on October 2-3, and the other on October 6-7.

Mark Elbroch, author of Bird Tracks and Sign, will be evaluating trackers on a Track & Sign Evaluation on October 4-5.

For more information about the different evaluations, visit: Wildlife Tracking in North America

Adriaan Louw is also offering a two-day trailing workshop through Alderleaf. You can learn more at: Trailing Workshop with Adriaan Louw





Alderleaf Receives a Vocational License!



The Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program has been approved as a licensed vocational program in Washington State. Our program trains participants to become excellent naturalists, outdoor educators, and environmental technicians with a specialty in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (survival, ethnobotany, tracking, permaculture, and more). This licensing fits with our organizational mission of providing quality professional training in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. It will also help future students acquire additional forms of financial aid.

Learn more about the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program





Employment Opportunity at Alderleaf

Alderleaf Wilderness College is hiring a full-time, year-round instructor/administrator position. To learn more, download our position announcement:

Alderleaf Position Announcement




Back Issues of the Alderleaf eNewsletter Available Online

You can browse back-issues of the Alderleaf eNewsletter on our website. Visit the Alderleaf eNewsletter homepage and click on the "view back issues" link.




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Alderleaf Wilderness College
17921 175th Place SE
Monroe, WA 98272
United States
(206) 369-8458

Visit our website to see new program information and more: http://www.WildernessCollege.com/index.html



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