THE RESEARCH SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY ENDED here at the Valles Grande, VCNP, New Mexico, where John and the Squad have finished capturing and marking all of the emergent juvenile offspring of the year. The final order of business every year is to run our predator-pull experiments at our research site to study alarm calling behavior among prairie dogs with and without offspring. With that data acquired, and all prairie dogs marked, John and the Squad have gathered and put away all our traps, burrow markers, bait and supplies, and our observation towers.
It was a successful first year at this new colony, with over a hundred new prairie dogs on the books. John will be back to the Valles Grande in September with a small team to recapture all of our prairie dogs so they can be marked again after their next molt (during which they put on their winter coats). But until then, research will be on pause as the prairie dogs focus on fattening up for the cold weather to come. Stay tuned!