The challenges of this project are many. They include heat and the constant sweating that accompanies it, headaches when you do not drink enough water, sleepless nights during the frequent windstorms, hard work under a ceaseless sun, nausea (you may not know exactly what caused it, but trust me it happens regularly out here), fire ants that bite, cactus spines in your feet, and the disgusting feeling that only accompanies 10 days of hard work in the dirt under a blazing sun without showering. On top of all that, this hitch was particularly diﬃcult for me. I learned just before we left for the field that my grandfather had suffered a stroke.
With the knowledge of those challenges weighing heavily on everyone’s mind, the Dead Bird Squad went into our final hitch in Tonopah, NV. The Tonopah area is about 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas area where we had been working until now.
The team experienced a new challenge in this area. Instead of struggling to find mine claim markers, we were suddenly swimming in them. Thousands of markers became a daunting task to pull, especially at the end of the season when everyone is tired, uncomfortable, and beginning to think about where they will be after this internship is over.
The crew managed the daunting task of pulling such a large number of poles admirably. More poles were pulled during this single hitch than in the five previous hitches combined.
It has been a long season filled with many challenges both in the field and out. I have learned a lot about the desert, the SCA, and further identified where my strengths and weaknesses as a leader lie. I am proud of the work that my team has completed for two reasons. One because it will hopefully save birds in the future, and second because it was done to the best of our abilities despite of a myriad of setbacks.
Although these markers cannot be removed from the field, it became legal to pull out PVC mine claim markers in Nevada on November 1, 2011. The Dead Bird Squad would like to encourage anyone who may be hiking around Nevada to pull out hollow PVC mine claim markers and join us in the fight to save cavity-nesting birds.
Desert Eagle. Over and out.
Written by Heather Rogers