And that’s a Wrap!

The last week leading up to the 16-21 August North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC, the Olympics of bird study conferences, see previous post) consisted of sporadic bursts of communication and new analyses from my family vacation in a cabin on a small lake in Maine. While this location was much better for catching Yellow Perch than it was for preparing for a conference the poster below was produced just in time to printed and shipped from Williamsburg to D.C.

[Read more…]

What a difference a month can make!

At the beginning of July, fresh out of finishing the fieldwork portion of my summer research, I had eight days worth of backlogged data from both myself and my professor Dan Cristol (who was my other field work half this summer), 11,000 lines of digital data to proof, and a poster draft due by the end of the month. Now being the end of July, with a family vacation on the immediate horizon and the largest ornithological conference in the history of North American Ornithology in two weeks, I am in a wildly different place. After finding the most nimble keyboard available on campus (hint, the new ones in Swem) I was able to swiftly dispatch the rest of the data entry within a few days. By July 9 my data was completely entered and proofed and my working knowledge of the lyrics in the most recent “Lumineers” album nearing perfection after hours stuffed up behind a computer. With that taken care of my next task was to begin the analysis. To do so required delving into the world of statistics programs. In my case I used Distance Sampling and R; two programs with rather steep learning curves. A few sit down sessions with Professor Matthias Leu later I was more or less on track to have some analyses completed for the North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC), which is now in just about two weeks!

[Read more…]

Data entry (and just in time)

The month of June, weekends and all, will remain in my mind for eternity as a blur of sunrises, suburbia, and songbirds. The discipline these surveys required still exhausts me when I think I about it. The most difficult aspect, however, was the temporal isolation that a 9:00pm bedtime during college brings. If I were to be at some remote field site, as I have was last summer in Alaska or this past summer in the rainforests of Madagascar, the all powerful force of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) would not have been so intense. Despite these seemingly undesirable attributes of June, as I look back now it’s hard to regret pushing my personal limits to the extent I did. Because… Now I can analyze the data!!* Quite possibly the best part of the end of a trying field season is that very idea.

[Read more…]

And so it begins

Proof that my research may be heading in the right direction. Here a female bluebird is about to deliver a spider to her hungry chicks at one of the houses I surveyed at.Proof that my research may be heading in the right direction. Here a female bluebird is about to deliver a spider to her hungry chicks at one of the houses I surveyed.

[Read more…]

A new look at your backyard birds: what are they really worth?

IMG_6705

[Read more…]