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University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Alaska Bird Observatory » Regular Staff
Anna-Marie Benson Anna-Marie Benson, Research Associate Anna-Marie started working for the Alaska Bird Observatory as a banding intern in 1994 and eventually worked up to the role of Senior Biologist before scaling back to raise a family. She now works part time for ABO and as an instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During the past 12 years, her research has focused on bird migration and habitat use by migrant and resident birds in interior Alaska. Anna-Marie was born in Canada and earned her Master's Degree from UAF. Her graduate work focused on high-latitude passerine migration. She enjoys spending most of her time with her daughters, Sophia and Juliette, and her husband, Carl. She loves a good battle with her skate skis, her sourdough bread starter, and any aspect of quantitative biology.
ABO - Arctic Warbler Winter 1999
* Anna-Marie Benson , Western Bird Banding Association Meeting, September 24-26, Reno, NVFor example, Anna-Marie Benson, Terry Doyle, and Tom Pogson will soon have a manuscript published that describes new passerine distribution information based on interior Alaska mist-netting operations.Anna-Marie Benson, ABO's Senior Biologist and a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has conducted an extensive examination of breeding-season duration, patterns of fat deposition, timing of migration, and energetic constraints of molting among high-latitude passerine migrants.Anna-Marie Benson, ABO's Senior Biologist, passed the standards set by the NABC for the permittee and trainer levels after being evaluated by some of the most prominent people in the field (C.J. Ralph, Geoff Geupel, Kathy Klimkiewicz, Ken Burton, and Barbara Carlson, to name a few).Anna-Marie stated, "I wasn't expecting the process to be quite so intensive, although it is great to know that such high standards are being set."The certification process is a great opportunity for people who are concerned that their banding skills meet North American standards.People can be certified at three different levels: assistant, permittee, and trainer.These designations will help people hiring field crews that require certain skills.The process is also an asset for anyone training bird banders.The Alaska Bird Observatory will be offering passerine bander certification courses during 2000; contact Anna-Marie Benson for more information.Join the 100th Christmas Bird Count
ABO - Fall 2001 Report
Anna-Marie Benson, Senior BiologistAlaska Bird Observatory, Box 80505, Fairbanks, AK, 99708
ABO - Staff Profiles
Anna-Marie Benson, Research AssociateAnna-Marie started working for the Alaska Bird Observatory as a banding intern in 1994 and eventually worked up to the role of Senior Biologist before scaling back to raise a family.She now works part time for ABO and as an instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.During the past 12 years, her research has focused on bird migration and habitat use by migrant and resident birds in interior Alaska.Anna-Marie was born in Canada and earned her Master's Degree from UAF.Her graduate work focused on high-latitude passerine migration.She enjoys spending most of her time with her daughters, Sophia and Juliette, and her husband, Carl.She loves a good battle with her skate skis, her sourdough bread starter, and any aspect of quantitative biology.
UAF News and Events » 2011 » June
Some alder flycatchers settle in interior Alaska, and here they caught the attention of Anna-Marie Benson, who once worked for the Alaska Bird Observatory in Fairbanks.
While studying songbird migration to earn her master's degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Benson searched through Fairbanks weather records to find the latest recorded low of 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring, and the first freeze of autumn. The dates June 13th and August 3rd represent a potential frost-free summer of just 51 days, which would be the worst-case scenario if you happened to be a songbird with lots to accomplish on your visit north. Most songbirds arrive in Fairbanks before June 13th and leave after August 3rd, but Benson found the alder flycatcher was an exception, staying in the Interior within that narrow window of the shortest possible summer. Benson said the alder flycatcher might time its arrival to coincide with the hatching of a large flying insect that would justify a commute across half the planet. "With the distance they're flying, they've got to be spent when they get here," she said. "They've got to be eating some big fat juicy insect, maybe a wasp, that's not available at other times." Whatever the alder flycatcher is finding to eat, it¹s eating a lot of them. A bird that establishes a territory, attracts a mate, breeds, makes a nest, lays eggs, and raises young in less than two months doesn¹t take any days off. Benson is impressed with all the migrant songbirds, which take great risks to breed in Alaska. Migrant birds that spend their summers at lower latitudes devote specific times to replacing damaged feathers, fattening up, and taking off for the flight home. Some of the birds Benson studied in Alaska perform each of the energy-sapping tasks at the same time. The alder flycatcher skips the process of replacing worn flight feathers in Alaska, a gamble that allows it to spend less than two months here before returning 7,000 miles to South America. Why do any of these tiny birds risk so much to head north each year? Benson said Alaska and other northern places offer lots of territory, plenty of food, and few nest-robbing predators when compared to the tropics and South America.