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Power to Save: Avian Adventures for Students

WILKES-BARRE — Dozens of middle school girls were in the woods Thursday morning, catching birds, holding them, and helping researchers tag and track them....

WILKES-BARRE -- Dozens of middle school girls were in the woods Thursday morning, catching birds, holding them, and helping researchers tag and track them.

It's part of a weeklong science camp just for girls at Wilkes.

It was a march into the woods for dozens of girls, and they found birds, up close.

This is Women Empowered By Science camp at Wilkes University just for girls in middle school, in the thick woods near Wilkes-Barre's Kirby Park.

They're getting to see the university's bird research.

"I never seen them that close. They're always so, so far away and it happens. One flew on my head!" said Jazmin Hughes.

Wilkes biology professor Jeff Stratford and his students say this spot is perfect for catching birds. They weigh and measure them, examine them, and tag them so they can be tracked as they grow and move about.

At the camp, researchers are sharing all that.

"Most birds are high up in the canopy, they don't get to see them this close and see the features that they would never see," Stafford said.

And there are birds they may never notice. Take the Red-eyed Vireo; a million of them fly back and forth from Central America to Pennsylvania.

"They live five, 10 years, so they make that trip five times, flying across the Gulf of Mexico."

They're also learning how to tell male birds from female birds.

"It's awesome. It's nice for them to teach us about them so we can respect them more," said Nya Soler.

And the Wilkes student volunteers love seeing the fascination on the faces.

"I did the WEBS program when I was younger so it's nice to reverse the role and now I'm the college students working with them," said biology major Amanda Schall.