Field Ornithology

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EEB 3898: Field Methods in Ornithology

Intensive Summer Session, May 7th - 25th, 2012 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 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

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 07 Course introduction and timeline; Bird identification (Optics, Guides and Notes. Homework: Sibley Field Guide pags. 10-17) M 14 Pdficon small.gifOrtega & Capen 1999, Local birding (Pink Ravine), Field notebooks (First Submission) M 21 Individual project data collection II (Final)
T 08 Topography and Field Marks (Homework: Sibley Field Guide pags. 18-24); Feet, Beaks and Body Form; Field exercises, start project thinking T 15 Individual project presentations; Paper submission (Introduction and Methods) T 22 Survey of coastal birds / Field notebooks (Final Submission)
W 09 Field research techniques, hypotheses testing, study design, and data analysis W 16 MIDTERM EXAM; birding after W 23 Project presentations and assisted work on the paper
Th 10 Pdficon small.gifAnderson et al. 1979

Survey of local birds (Mansfield Hollow), Project guidelines discussion and selection (written ideas)

Th 17 Individual project data collection I (Methods adjustment) Th 24 Review session in preparation for the final; PAPER SUBMISSION (FINAL)
F 11 Survey of local birds (Pink ravine) F 18 Banding demo, Pomfret Center, Connecticut Audubon Society F 25 FINAL EXAM; Instructor evaluations

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


Exams: May 16th (MIDTERM) [50 points]; May 25th (FINAL) [50 points]

Project Paper: May 15th (Intro and Methods) [30 points]; May 24th (Final) [50 points]

Project Presentations: May 15th (Intro and Methods) [20 points]; May 24th (Final) [25 points]

Field Notebook Submissions: May 14th (First) [20 points]; May 22nd (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.

Important documents to download:

Course overviewPdficon small.gif

Binoculars sign-outPdficon small.gif

ID'ing exercisePdficon small.gif

Field Notebook InstructionsPdficon small.gif

Individual Project Instructions (Intro and Methods)Pdficon small.gif

Individual Project Instructions (Final)Pdficon small.gif

eBird guidelines Pdficon small.gif

Additional References & Websites

• 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