Oct. 6, 2023, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Oregon Tech Natural Sciences Department Chair and Associate Professor Nate Bickford, Ph.D., will offer attendees an opportunity to learn more about the effects of a solar eclipse on wildlife during a star party being held at the Running Y Resort the day before the Oct. 14 annular eclipse.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon partially obscures the sun, creating a captivating “ring-of-fire” effect around the sun’s edges. “We are fortunate to witness this remarkable celestial event up close,” Bickford said.
Bickford’s research background in animal behavior during eclipses laid the foundation for his presentation. “Eclipses provide a unique window into understanding how animals react to unusual environmental phenomena,” he said. “Accounts of animals reacting to solar eclipses are not uncommon. Spectators may see a decrease in bird vocalization and a change in activities such as feeding, flight, and returning to roost.”
Bickford’s most extensive study, conducted at the University of Nebraska Kearney, involved tracking animals through GPS telemetry during the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse.
“Our study revealed that eclipses offer an opportunity to gain fresh perspectives on how animals interact with their surroundings. It also opens doors for improved methods of movement analysis,” Bickford said.
Bickford also suggested that future research could merge GPS and bio-sensors with human observations alongside environmental variables and remote sensing technologies.
His presentation will take place Oct. 13, the evening before the eclipse. The event will feature a dinner presentation, guided star gazing, and a light concert. Bickford will be joined by an Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) representative and a representative from the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin tribes.
Bickford invites anyone in Klamath County on Oct. 13-14 to share their observations of unusual animal behavior to Oregon Tech’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OregonTech.
More information about the star party at the Eclipse into Nature event is available at https://www.runningy.com/seasonal-specials.