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, Horizon Wings, Field notebooks (First Submission) M 26 Memorial day: Individual project data collection III (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 Review; Individual project presentations; Media project first submission 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 Project presentations; birding after (Mansfield Hollow). Field notebooks (Final Submission)
Th 15 Pdficon small.gifAnderson et al. 1979

Survey of local birds (Pink Ravine), 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; MEDIA PROJECT FINAL SUBMISSION
F 16 Banding demo, Pomfret Center, Connecticut Audubon Society F 23 Individual project data collection II (Assisted) F 30 FINAL EXAM; Instructor evaluations

*: 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]

Media Project: May 20th (Intro and Methods) [30 points]; May 29th (Final) [50 points]

Project Presentations: May 20th (Intro and Methods) [20 points]; May 28th (Final) [25 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