Field Ornithology

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EEB 3898: Field Methods in Ornithology

Intensive Summer Session 1, June 6th - 24th, 2011 MTWThF

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 research techniques, study design, and data analysis

➢ Develop an individual project

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

• Recommended

o Sibley’s birding basics

o Birding by Ear: Eastern and Central North America

o Old shoes or hiking boots, & proper outdoor clothing (poison ivy, weather)

o Insect repellent (ticks, mosquitoes)

o Sunscreen

Tentative* schedule

Day Topic Day Topic Day Topic
M 06 Course introduction and timeline; Bird identification (Optics, Guides and Notes), Campus birding M 13 Bird families (Taxonomy), Local birding (Yale Forest), Field notebooks (First Submission) M 20 Survey of coastal birds
T 07 Topography and Field Marks; Feet, Beaks and Body Form; Field exercises, start project thinking (written ideas) T 14 Individual project presentations; Paper submission (Introduction and Methods) T 21 Banding demo, Pomfret Center, Connecticut Audubon Society / Field notebooks (Final Submission)
W 08 Field research techniques, hypotheses testing, study design, and data analysis; Pdficon small.gifAnderson et al. 1979; Pdficon small.gifOrtega & Capen 1999 W 15 MIDTERM EXAM; birding after W 22 Individual project presentations and assisted work on the paper
Th 09 Survey of local birds (Mansfield Hollow), Individual project guidelines discussion and project selection Th 16 Individual project data collection I (Methods adjustment) Th 23 HEEP site field activity (use of eBird); PAPER SUBMISSION (FINAL)
F 10 Capture/banding demonstration, Pomfret Center, Connecticut Audubon Society F 17 Individual project data collection II (Final) F 24 FINAL EXAM; Instructor evaluations

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


Exams: June 15th (MIDTERM) [50 points]; June 24th (FINAL) [50 points]

Individual Project Paper: June 14th (Intro and Methods) [30 points]; June 23rd (Final) [50 points]

Individual Project Presentations: June 14th (Intro and Methods) [20 points]; June 22nd (Final) [25 points]

Field Notebook Submissions: June 13th (First) [20 points]; June 21st (Final) [25 points]

Field trips = Birding exercises (5 points each): June 9th, 10th, 13th, 20th, 21st, 23rd [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

• 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

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