Field Ornithology

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EEB 3898: Field Methods in Ornithology

Intensive Summer Session, May 12th - 30th, 2014

Meets: M-F, 8 am to 11 am, TLS 181

Instructor: Alejandro Rico

Office: Biol/Pharm 404

Phone: 860-486-0309

Office hours: variable & flexible (call, email, drop by)

Course Objectives

➢ Acquire bird identification skills

➢ Learn how to take field notes

➢ Learn and apply basic field techniques, study design, and data analysis

➢ Develop a research project

➢ Improve collaboration skills

Course Materials


• Required

o The Sibley Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America

o Binoculars (available from us if you don’t have any)

o Field notepad/notebook (Pdficon small.gif Basic guidelines)

o Closed-toe shoes (no sandals) or hiking boots, & proper outdoor clothing (poison ivy, weather)

• Recommended

o Sibley’s birding basics

o Birding by Ear: Eastern and Central North America

o Insect repellent (ticks, mosquitoes)

o Sunscreen

Tentative* schedule

Day Topic Day Topic Day Topic
M 12 Course introduction and timeline; Bird identification (Optics, Guides and Notes. Homework: Sibley Field Guide pags. 10-17) M 19 Pdficon small.gifOrtega & Capen 1999, Survey of local birds (Mansfield hollow), Field notebooks (First Submission) M 26 Memorial day: Independent project data collection (Final)
T 13 Topography and Field Marks (Homework: Sibley Field Guide pags. 18-24); Feet, Beaks and Body Form; Field exercises, start project thinking T 20 Individual project presentations T 27 Survey of coastal birds (Barn Island)
W 14 Field research techniques, hypotheses testing, study design, and data analysis W 21 MIDTERM EXAM W 28 Survey of local birds. Field notebooks (Final Submission)
Th 15 Survey of local birds (Pink Ravine), Review, Project guidelines discussion and selection (written ideas) Th 22 Individual project data collection I (Methods adjustment) Th 29 Review session in preparation for the final; Sound guide to the birds of campus; MEDIA PROJECT FINAL SUBMISSION
F 16 Pdficon small.gifAnderson et al. 1979

Banding demo, Pomfret Center, Connecticut Audubon Society

F 23 Individual project data collection II (Assisted) F 30 FINAL EXAM; Instructor evaluations; Media Projects

*: Schedule is subject to change pending weather conditions, or unforeseen birding and research opportunities.


Exams: May 21st (MIDTERM) [50 points]; May 30th (FINAL) [50 points]

Project Proposal Presentation: May 20th (Intro and Methods) [25 points];

Media Project: May 29th [100 points]

Field Notebook Submissions: May 19th (First) [20 points]; May 28th (Final) [25 points]

Field trips = Birding exercises (5 points each): Dates will be weather dependent [30 points]

Total: [300 points]

Grading scale: A = 100-90%, B = 89-80%, C = 79-70%, D = 69-60%, F = 59-0%. Plus/minus system will be used for the final grade.

Additional References & Websites

• Local Birds ID tool:

• MANUAL OF ORNITHOLOGY (Yale Univ.), by N.S. Proctor and P.J. Lynch:

• Bibby CJ, Burgess ND, Hill DA, Mustoe S, editors. 2000. Bird census techniques. San Diego, USA: Academic Press.:

• Gill F. 2007. Ornithology. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. :

• Stiling P. 1999. Ecology: theories and application. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

• Clark, G. A. 1999. Birds of Storrs, Connecticut and vicinity. 3rd Ed. Mansfield, CT: Natchaug Ornithological Society & Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust.

• SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive):

• Cornell Lab of Ornithology “All About Birds”:

• Natchaug Ornithological Society: (esp. “local hotspots”

• Connecticut Ornithological Association:

• CT Audubon Society:

• CT Department of Environmental Protection:

Website design by Diego Sustaita