Semester Summary

Due to the labor intensive nature of this project, field work was started this past spring semester in March. Graduate student Heather Kenny, who is conducting an independent behavioural study with Eastern Bluebirds and co-advising my project, trained a team of four undergraduate assistants to begin the banding process. It was important to begin banding early so that we would be able to keep track of individual birds and to prevent a backlog of work that would prevent us from conducting the behavioral assays in sync with the birds’ reproduction. Each bird participating in the studies was given a unique band combination. This allowed for individuals to be kept track of, which is especially useful if the pair changes nest boxes.

In addition to learning how to band birds and mist net, weekly meetings were led by Heather Kenny. During these meetings, the team discussed relevant scientific literature, reviewed protocols, and practiced skills such as banding and aging bluebirds. I also began a photography initiative. After discussing the importance of visuals in presentation of research during our lab meetings, I decided I wanted to put together a photo bank of the project. I began taking my camera into the field with me to document the work we were doing and organized the photos so that they would be easy to access for the entire team!

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