About this project
Involve yourself in the discovery of the wonder of the living world! Help marry the world of science to the world of art!
Your support will allow us to share with you, through blog, photographic, video and audio posts, our adventures as we seek to discover the world of the Elegant Quail, Callipepla douglasii. Unlike its close relatives (congeners), the Elegant Quail’s entry in the Encyclopedia of Life is almost blank (http://www.eol.org/pages/1047230). By contributing to this project you will support a study of this little known species as we examine its behavior and evolution in its natural habitat, a space encroached upon by both urban sprawl and tension surrounding narcotics trafficking.
There are economic and conservation reasons to study the Elegant Quail. This species is valuable to birders and hunters and it depends on habitats adjacent to and overlapping regions of expanding human habitation. However—more than anything—the study of this, as with other living species, expands, deepens and enriches all our lives.
As field biologists, we look at human society through the eyes of scientists that have touched the world of the nonhuman and have been altered by it. By using our abilities as artists and writers to document our work in the field, we aim to communicate the sensation of being in a place where the human and nonhuman meet.
This project represents an alternative approach to the study of nonhuman species. While we will contribute to the scientific understanding we will also generate an entirely different sort of understanding—one that exists outside of the constraints of science. The piece of literature and photography we create will speak to our condition as humans, to our very human relationship to the earth and to our relationship of other creatures who share our same physical landscape.
By engaging an artistic approach we work to heal the divide between science and art and communicate the mystery of these birds clearly to the readers and viewers.
What, Specifically, Do We Plan To Do?
If funded, we will travel to Sinaloa, Mexico where we will be met by local experts who will help us locate populations of the elegant quail. While we are there we will observe the quail and record their vocalizations. We will also record the habitat and collect artifacts relevant to the quail/human relationship. We will trap individual elegant quail and take measurements, feather or blood samples (for DNA analysis) and photographs of each individual. We will also band birds so that, during observations, we can develop a record of individual behavior and social relationships. During this time, we will post blog entries with photographs and audio so that readers can accompany us on our journey. When we return, we will analyze our data, compare our results to what we have learned about other species of Callipepla quail while continuing to regularly update our blog posts. Our interpretation of the experience will both be a scientific analysis of the data and a literary and multimedia exploration.
What Will Result From This Work
The physical products of this work will include the online documentation of the field work (at http://thequaildiaries.wordpress.com), photographic prints, artifacts and the final, full-color, book. This project will also result in papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and talks given at scientific conferences. AND we will fill in that nearly blank entry in the Encyclopedia of Life (http://www.eol.org/pages/1047230). By funding this research you will make a direct contribution to scientific study at a time when funding has been drastically reduced, especially for basic field studies of the behavior and evolution of vertebrate species. Our preliminary work, funded by YOU, will provide the foundation for future studies of the elegant quail.
What Will The Funds Be Used For
The funds will go to pay for travel, local support and equipment for two weeks of scientific, literary and photographic work in Mexico, and printing costs for 100 copies of a full color text
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- (30 days)