Join Craig Sherwood for the fourth presentation of ASK’s new program season as he discusses “Relationship Between Ravens and the Desert Tortoise.” There are parts of this planet where change happens so slowly it can be measured more easily over millennia versus decades or days. The Mojave Desert was until recently, one of these ancient refuges from change; an ecosystem where the flora and fauna have become so highly specialized living in nearly uninhabitable conditions they often lack the ability to adapt to a dynamic situation. In our current age, the iconic desert tortoise is facing a daunting challenge as it is confronted with swelling numbers of humans and the predators that prosper in their wake. The common raven (Corvus corax) is one of these predators and the species is experiencing something of a golden age as human densities continue to increase in one of North America’s most inhospitable landscapes.
You will be in for a crash course on the biology and life history of the Mojave Desert Tortoise and explore how it has become intricately entwined with the explosive success of the largest species in the Corvid family. We will look at what is being done now and where new techniques and technology are taking us as we attempt to reframe how we think about the most intelligent and opportunistic avian species in the Southwest. What we learn in the desert may very well help to prepare us for tackling future corvid-related challenges right here at home.
Craig Sherwood has been working in the field since 2010 after completing his undergraduate studies in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology at Michigan State University. Seasonal work has allowed him to live and work in places from the Canadian Rockies and Interior Alaska to the scorching landscapes of the Mojave Desert. Years of work with desert tortoises has inevitably led to an interest in ravens. He now serves as an advisor and contractor to Hardshell Labs. Hardshell Labs is currently leading the field by spearheading the development of a variety of innovative, non-lethal aversive conditioning techniques for dealing with raven problems.
You are invited to join us to meet and hear Craig Sherwood on January 22, 2018, at the People’s Church, 1758 North 10th Street, Kalamazoo. Our program starts at 7:30 PM and is preceded by a social time with light refreshments at 7:00 PM. Guests and the general public are encouraged to attend. Handicap parking and access is at either the front or rear entrance of the building. Please remember to bring your own coffee mug to reduce dishwashing.