Daily Archives: May 19, 2014

Birding on Bloedel: Warbler heard more than seen

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published  here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for seven years. They live in Kingston. 

The migratory species that spend their summers and nest at Boedel began to arrive in mid-April, with plenty of time to spare before the celebration of International Migratory Bird Day on May 10. One such species, a common summer resident in forested areas with extensive undergrowth at Bloedel, is the Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla).

It has made the long journey from Central America where it spends the winter. Wilson’s Warbler is more often heard than seen, its song a melodious “cheerycheery cheeeycheery chewchew,” the last notes slightly lower in pitch.

A glimpse of the singer is well worth the patience and work. The male has a bright yellow head and underside, gray wings and tail, and a greenish back — and a black cap on top of its head accentuating the bright yellow coloration. Females are a duller yellow and lack the black cap.

Wilson’s Warbler is named for the man who is often referred to as the “father of American ornithology.” Alexander Wilson was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1766, but immigrated to America after being imprisoned for writing poetry protesting the working conditions of garment workers in Scotland. Here he developed an interest in natural history and decided to produce his own paintings of American birds. His hand-painted engravings of 268 bird species were published in three volumes entitled “American Ornithology” between 1808 and 1814 (2014 is thus the bicentennial of its completion).

Wilson’s Warbler was one of 26 species new to science that appeared in the folios. Wilson’s work helped to inspire John James Audubon to produce his magnificent body of work.

Listen and look for Wilsons’ Warbler in dense forest undergrowth near the Bird Marsh and near the Christmas Pond.

O’Neill named interim Bainbridge High principal

Following Bainbridge High Principal Jake Haley accepting a principal position at Costa Mesa High School in California, Bainbridge Island School District named Mary Alice O’Neill as the school’s interim principal for the 2014-15 school year. She will start July 1.

O’Neill was the associate principal at BHS from 1999 to 2001 and Woodward Middle’s principal from 2001 to 2009. She currently works as a teacher on special assignment.

“I’m excited to fill this important role,” O’Neill said in a news release. “I believe we have one of the finest high schools in the state. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing students, the talented and caring staff, as well as the supportive parent community.”

O’Neill has worked as an educator for more than 30 years in Kitsap County, California and Kuwait. She holds a bachelor of arts and masters of education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

“We’re thrilled to have Mary Alice rejoin the district in this critical role,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said. “She is a skilled and experienced principal and understands the needs of our district.”

Haley will work through the end of the school year before starting his new job in California July 1.

Last month, Amii Pratt was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School. The half-time administrative position – which was cut in 2011 – is being reinstated as a result of the district’s increased enrollment and changes in administrative roles and responsibilities. She’ll start her new job July 1.

“Amii has excelled in a number of instructional and leadership roles in the district, and she is highly regarded by those who have worked with her,” Chapel said.

Pratt brings 11 years of educational experience to this new position. She taught first and second grades at Wilkes and Ordway Elementary Schools and second grade at Ogden Elementary in Vancouver, Wash. She also served as a K-5 English Language Learner coordinator in Vancouver for two years.

Currently, Pratt is a K-5 English language arts teacher on special assignment and is a principal intern at Blakely Elementary. She has designed and led professional development sessions and co-facilitated the Teacher Evaluation Committee for the Bainbridge Island School District.

She graduated in 2001 from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in science and a year later earned a master’s degree in teaching from OSU. In 2008, she achieved her National Board Certification, a rigorous and advanced teaching credential. This year, she received her Initial Principal and Program Administrator Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership Program.

Contributed photo Amii Pratt recently was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School.
Contributed photo
Amii Pratt recently was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School.