Seed-extraction Success

Hello again my fellow CLM interns and CLM blog readers!  My internship is now well-over halfway through, bringing both excitement to move on to new places and new things and slight dread regarding moving away from the friendships I’ve made and fun I’ve had in Boise.  I think that my last 2 posts efficiently covered the seed collections and habitat assessments that we have been doing over the past 3 months, so I shall instead write about other things we have had the opportunity to experience/help out with.

Given Boise, Idaho’s 5 hour proximity to Bend, Oregon, we were able to personally deliver our last batch of seeds to the Bend Seed Extractory.  The assistant manager there,  Sarah, was kind enough to give us a tour of the facility and even demonstrate some of the equipment used for seed cleaning and separation.  It amazes me how few people work at the extractory, given the quantities of seed they must process.  Many of the collections they receive are somewhat new to them, so they must use the process of trial and error to determine the best combination of equipment and settings to extract, separate, and clean the seeds.  The top photo is of an anti-gravity machine that pumps air up from the bottom like an air hockey table to elevate the seeds and then shakes back and forth at a slight angle to separate heavier and lighter materials.  The seeds are slowly pushed off the end of the table, and the adjustable wooden wedges are used to direct the different weight classes into different bins.  Pretty cool!

Anti-Gravity Seed Separation Machine

Anti-Gravity Seed Separation Machine

Gradient of pure seeds at the top and unwanted material at the bottom

Gradient of pure seeds at the top and unwanted material at the bottom

Samples of seed collections from our field office last summer

Samples of seed collections from our field office last summer

Another day was spent accompanying some BLM employees from the Washington D.C. office and Idaho State office on a tour of the Intermountain Bird Observatory/Research Station.  We helped the researchers check their mist nets for songbirds every 30 minutes during their 5 hours after sunrise shift.  The birds are all identified, tagged if they aren’t already, measured, aged, and inspected for parasites and overall health.  Everything is then recorded, and the birds are set free to go about their daily activities.

Colorful individual ready for release

Colorful individual ready for release

Too content to fly away

Too content to fly away

One of the many mist nets in the area

One of the many mist nets in the area

Thanks for reading!

Dan King

BLM – Four Rivers Field Office – Boise, ID

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