Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The Reporter’s Notebook Podcast, Ep. 51: Migratory Birds are Dying

On this week’s episode, we’re talking to NMSU professors Martha Desmond and Tim Wright. Desmond is a Regents professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, while Wright is a professor in the Biology Department.

We’re diving into the mystery of a recent die-off of migratory birds in New Mexico. In 2020, possibly hundreds of thousands of migratory birds were found dead across the state. We’ll talk to Tim and Martha about what caused it, what is being done to address it, and a new partnership with Las Alamos National Labs that is designed to help.

NMSU Regents Professor Martha Desmond is a co-director of the USDA-funded project using research into the die-off of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds in 2020 to train more scientists to lead research involving future ecological disasters.

Wright explained the program will provide graduate and undergraduate students with research experience, life skills, critical thinking and broader experiences to be successful leaders in the face of rapidly changing biomes. During the academic year, students will conduct mentored research on migratory bird biology. During the summer, they will work intern in agencies, present their work at scientific conferences, take core courses in migration biology (with a foreign study component), scientific communication and science and ethics, and work with individualized mentor teams.

NMSU Biology Professor Timothy Wright, shown here in the field in Costa Rica, is the director of the project titled

But what does all that mean, on a practical level?

This week, we’re grateful to have Tim and Martha joining us.

Damien Willis is a Lead Reporter for the Las Cruces Sun News. He can be reached at 575-541-5443, [email protected] or @DamienWillis on Twitter.

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