Guest blog by Bahar Öksüzer

Students at the Eymir Ornithological Research Center

Sevgili okuyucular,

Herkese merhaba ben Bahar Öksüzer, Ankara Üniversitesi Biyoloji bölümünde eğitim macerama devam etmekteyim. Sizlere kendim ve diğer tüm gönüllü arkadaşlarım adına Eymir Halkalama İstasyonu’ndan yazıyorum. Hep beraber Eymir Ornitoloji Araştırma Merkezi ve Halkalama İstasyonu’nda küçük bir geziye çıkıp ardından da istasyonumuz hakkında önemli detaylar öğreneceğiz.

After that brief introduction in Turkish on behalf of Turkish readers, let’s get back to the main topic. I am writing this blog with a feeling of sincerity like our station’s atmosphere. I hope you will enjoy it and feel close to us.

Eymir Ringing Station is in the Gölbaşı district of Ankara in central Turkiye, and its activities have been supported by OSME’s Youth Development Fund for the last few years. The station is situated near Eymir Lake and in the area of the Middle East Technical University (METU), surrounded by different species of trees and bushes. Ankara has dry weather conditions, which is why it is hard for migrating birds to find shelter and food resources. Eymir and Mogan Lake provide these to the migrants and that is why the location of the station is near the lake and is home to many living species, including jackals or a random snake but mostly bird species. Eymir is not far out in the wilds, there is a way all around the lake where people ride bicycles. There are always people in circulation, especially at weekends. That is why sometimes curious eyes are watching us and wonder what is going on at the station.

Processing birds at the ringing station.
Measuring the wing length of a Blackcap

The ringing station has been actively working since the summer season of 2018 and continues today. The station is headed by Dr.Arzu Gürsoy Ergen from Ankara University, Dr. Cemal Can Bilgin from Middle East Technical University, and the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Park’s protocols. It is a great opportunity for students who want to learn more and get trained about birds and migration. Some volunteers are also working on getting their ringing licenses. For example, one of the first volunteers got her ringing license, and since then has been working for the station and also doing a master’s degree in ornithology. The volunteers are from different universities in different cities. This year the priority was given to volunteers who were affected by the earthquake. In the autumn season total of 24 volunteers including 3 earthquake victims with three ringers involved in the studies. This season 1759 birds were ringed from 49 different species.

Planting vegetables at the ringing station
The team at the Eymir Ringing Station

Most often the young volunteers after their first experience at the station, want to join the ringing studies every season again and again with big passion. Some of them come from different locations with considerable sacrifices. In the station, there are so many social and other dynamics that keep us together around one aim and help us to improve. Eymir is not just an ornithological research station, also an atmosphere like a home, where we share our different experiences with others and do great things, like planting our organic vegetables, collecting fruits from the trees that are grow in the station, and making their jams. Mostly volunteers take the fruits to their home and make these jams at their home, then bring them back to the station.

When I first came to the station I got scared of the works that are supposed to be done. The missions that were given to us sounded very complex, For instance how to take the birds from the nets and how to treat the species and learn specific details about how to identify the species. Why and how to take the measurements, observations, and additionally, normal tasks such as cooking, cleaning, meeting the other volunteers for the first time and living together for a week. Then after a week, which passed so quickly like a blink of an eye, I realized I adapted so quickly like other volunteers and learned so much information that I never could have imagined.

This autumn season was my second season at Eymir Ringing Station and when compared to the first one I can see how my perspective has changed to nature. During all the time between my two experiences, I see how I improved my knowledge about birds and nature. It is an amazing feeling to name more birds that I saw around or heard by its calls, they are not just birds anymore to me.

These kinds of works provide so many opportunities to contribute in so many areas including social life and relationships in a fieldwork, not just ornithology. Our station is a proof of that. Gathering around one goal was the main reason I believe. There is a huge diversity in the station and every volunteer is quite passionate about sharing his\her experiences and knowledge with others, especially academically.

The more our station keeps working the more it becomes known and, the more young people reach a chance to join us and discover themselves and contribute to this area.

I would like to add that, Eymir Ringing Station was one of my best experiences in my life and I hope it will be more. I want it to become others’ best experience too.

To end this text, I want to give you a brief information about myself, I am Bahar Öksüzer, I am a biology student at Ankara University and I am 22 years old, My life started at Van, one of the easternmost city of Turkiye, and then Istanbul and now Ankara. Like a bird’s juorney. At the end, me and birds meet one place to tell each about our journey: Eymir Ornithological Research Center, and then fly back to our lifes again to meet till next season.

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