The Art of Troubleshooting

As I have touched on in some previous posts, one of the most important things I experienced first hand this summer was the importance of troubleshooting. After reading through some other grant recipients’ blog posts, it appears that many other students had similar discoveries. 

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All About Bluebirds

A highlight of this research experience has been getting to learn all about Eastern Bluebirds, arguably one of the most charismatic bird species in this area. Funnily enough, the first time I saw a bluebird was actually on William & Mary’s campus. Like many people, I found their small size and beautiful coloration endearing. This project has opened my eyes to their fascinating population history and life cycle.

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Bluebird Nest Monitors

Although the Eastern Bluebird population in the Williamsburg area is healthy today, it wasn’t always like this. In the 1960s & 1970s, their populations saw steep declines across their ranges. These declines were caused by a variety of factors including agricultural practices, competition with invasive species (specifically house sparrow), and increased human development. 

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Visual Analysis & Structural Coloration

This past week, field work proceeded as usual. We conducted assays, nest box checks, banded birds, and collected feather samples. I also begun visual analysis of the feather samples! Visual analysis will be used to get more information on how CORT levels impact individual condition, and will be overseen by Casey McLaughlin.

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Assays & Visual Analysis

Last week, we continued behavioural assays, checking nest boxes, and implementing experimental noise treatments for Heather Kenny’s experiment.

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