Environmentalist-bent Sage Sweetwater Firebrand Lesbian Novelist wants you, dear fans, to know the message is written in feathers, clear to anyone who knows about nature's identification through the writing process.
Sage Sweetwater applies the hoarding behavior in her writing. It is why she is successful today, in that she has stockpiled her writing over the last 20 years and used it like ptilochronology,
Ptilochronology provides the answer. In the Swedish study, birds that hoard extra seeds provided by the researchers grow back tail feathers that have been experimentally plucked much faster than those of the unsupplemented birds. The hoarders also grow feathers that are longer, with wider growth bars than those of the non-hoarding birds--direct evidence that they are better nourished. Sage Sweetwater is better nourished, in that she has fed herself in research for many years to learn what to incorporate in her writing to be a stronger writer.
And, there's a geography lesson here too, in which Sage Sweetwater applies to her success, that being she is from good mountain soil. It goes like this...
Isotopes are stable forms of chemical elements that differ in their atomic weights. The exact isotopic composition of rocks, soil and plants varies in predictable patterns from region to region. This variation often allows geologists to determine what region a rock came from just by measuring its isotope ratios. Similarly, when a bird eats a caterpillar that fed on a maple that grew in the thin, granitic soil of Hubbard Brook, the bird incorporates a geographic tag into its bones, muscles and feathers.
Dartmouth geochemists think a new application of isotope studies to birds has the potential to sort out populations of migratory birds over vast geographic areas. Their ultimate goal is to map northern breeding populations to the exact tropical locations in which they winter. This research is of special interest to Sage Sweetwater as well as conservationists, because many forest-nesting songbirds are declining, as is well-written literature. Redstart populations in the Adirondacks, for example, have plummeted 38 percent in the past 10 years. Wood thrushes, scarlet tanagers, cerulean warblers and many other migrants also are dwindling.
Scientists debate the cause of these declines, as does Sage Sweetwater. Though the news media have spotlighted tropical deforestation as the likely villain, some think the biggest threats may be in North America. Isotope studies could help resolve the debate. Imagine two songbird populations that breed in different places in the north, and one breeding population is holding steady, but the other is declining. The same can be said for writers and their respective territories. It could be that problems right here on the breeding grounds and writing grounds are contributing to the decline. But problems on the wintering grounds might also be a factor. We can´t sort things out unless we know where the birds and writers spend their winters.
And then the Migration is always a mystery. If only birds arrived in the tropics the way tourist luggage comes off a plane, with a tag that shows where the flight originated. Unfortunately, many songbirds are too small to carry radio transmitters, one useful tag. Tiny warblers can be tagged with metal ankle bands, but so far, even labor-intensive banding studies have not been able to put many pieces of the puzzle together. Scientists searched all the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banding records to see if they could match where certain redstarts bred with where they went in winter. Only a dozen banded redstarts have ever been recovered in the tropics--and they were banded on migration, not on their breeding grounds. So it isn't known where they came from. The beauty of using isotopes is that you don´t have to catch the bird to mark it--it´s marked for you.
The Dartmouth team has been doing some preliminary studies using feathers from a migratory species that is not in trouble--the black-throated blue warbler. The warbler, whose numbers are holding steady, makes an ideal test case, because a complete feather collection already exists. Gary Graves, a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution, has collected black-throated blue specimens across the bird´s North American range for his own studies, and he generously contributed feather samples to the project. "If we´d had to start with redstarts or some other species," says Holmes, "it would have been a major effort just to get the feathers to work with."
To analyze feathers, Chamberlain uses a custom-built apparatus that sorts a feather´s isotopes by weight. The results are promising. The team has found clear geographic trends in carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios: highest in feathers from Georgia, which is the southern limit of the black-throated blue´s breeding range, and lowest at the northern limit of the range, in southern Canada. "We´ve also analyzed some feathers collected on the wintering grounds," says Holmes. "It looks like birds from separate breeding populations in the northernmost part of the breeding range do mix together in the Caribbean in winter." Now that the team has shown that feather isotopes can identify bird populations from different regions, the scientists hope soon to conduct a similar study using redstart feathers. "Once we can link breeding and wintering grounds and identify critical habitats, we can set priorities for habitat protection," says Holmes.
Sage Sweetwater sees a link between bird feathers and the locale of writers. A lesbian writer's habitat is crucial to her survival. Sage Sweetwater lives in a section of mountain area where the Mexican spotted owl is now protected. On to a million now...Sage Sweetwater with nice, long tailfeathers...stockpiling writing for the winter...
Sage Sweetwater, firebrand lesbian novelist