OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla.
A University of Oklahoma student is conducting a bird study in the Tar Creek Area.
No one has studied Tar Creek wildlife since about 2004. This inspired Biology Student Heather Lepage to begin her research which she has been working on for about a year and a half.
Lepage is gathering data analyzing the health of birds in environmentally hazardous areas like Tar Creek in comparison to safe controlled environments. On a typical day, Lepage and her partner put up nets around 5:30 am and spend several hours catching birds while taking samples.
Once migration takes place at the end of the Summer, they then move to the lab analyzing samples to decipher what they have learned. She’s hoping to bring awareness to not only Tar Creek, but to other areas as well.
“There are lots of other industrialized areas cities, former mining sites, that have been could be overlooked. We could be looking at the birds in those areas and learning more about what’s going on around us before it’s too late.”Heather Lepage, OU Student
So, far her studies indicate birds in the Tar Creek Area are not showing signs of physical symptoms of lead poising as she expected. She and her teammate are trying to figure out the negative environmental factors the bird may experience including shorter life spans or behavioral changes.