Difference between revisions of "Ornithology Laboratory"

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| Mar 22||  || Alex S ||Zack M ||Zack M ||  || Melissa K + Erin C|| ||
| Mar 22||  || Alex S ||Zack M ||Zack M ||  || Melissa K + Erin C|| ||
| Mar 29||  || Alex S ||  || || || Melissa K + Erin C || ||
| Mar 29||  || Alex S ||  || ||no NEW students, Sue away || Melissa K + Erin C ||no NEW students, Sue away ||
| April 5|| || Alex S|| || || Jenna K ||Jenna K + Emily||  ||
| April 5|| || Alex S|| || || Jenna K ||Jenna K + Emily||  ||

Revision as of 13:10, 22 March 2012


Western Sandpiper; drawing copyright Bridget Keimel

Basic Course Information

EEB 4261

Spring 2012

Meets: Fridays, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m, TLS 371

Instructor: Dr. Margaret Rubega
Office: PharmBio 500 Phone: 486-4502
Office Hours: By appointment

Your emails to me MUST contain the phrase "EEB 4261” in the subject line; email received without that phrase, and especially those with a blank subject line, will be DELETED, unread.

Teaching Assistant: Chris Field
Office: PharmBio 310 Phone: 486-3005
Office Hours: Wed. 12-2, or by appointment

Required Texts

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

BIRDS OF STORRS (Natchaug Ornithological Society) by G.A. Clark, Jr.

SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRDS (Knopf), by D.A. Sibley.(Eastern or North American Edition)

Class Schedule

(very subject to change; check back before every lab)

Date Required Reading Subject Meeting notes, and other resources
Jan 20 P & L p. 274-281,286-287; Sibley p. 9-14; Clark p. 1-19 Tools of the trade: Optics, Field Guides, Field Notes and Journals Come dressed and ready to bird; meet in TLS 371
Jan 27 P & L p. 22-37, 47-65, 263-265; Sibley p. 15-21; Clark p. 21-40/ P & L p. 66-77 North American bird Orders; Topography and Field Marks; Feet, Beaks and Body Form; Opportunities in Ornithology Bring P & L to class; meet in TLS 371
Feb 3 Handouts Tour of Mansfield birding spots
Feb 10 Handouts Specimen preparation demonstration Come dressed to bird
Feb 17 P & L p. 81-105 Feathers & Aerodynamics
Feb 24 P & L Chapters 6 & 7, 205-209, 219-226 Anatomy: musculature and internal organs NO BIRDING - we will need the whole class period for dissections. Bring your Proctor and Lynch to class!
March 2 P & L Chap. 5 Anatomy - Skeletons Check for weather, and come dressed to bird
March 9 MIDTERM EXAM; birding after
March 23 Handouts Field Techniques: Survey methods
March 30 Proctor & Lynch p. 266-273 Weather and Bird Movements: Go Outside to EXPERIENCE both! Monitor bird movements with Dave LaPuma! Clemson University Radar Ornithology Lab Birds and Weather worksheet
April 6 Bird, Bird, Bird – outside all four hours
April 13 Handouts Field Techniques: Behavioral observations
April 20 Bird, Bird, Bird – outside all four hours
April 27 Bird, Bird, Bird - outside all four hours
April 30 8:00 – 10:00 am FINAL EXAM in TLS 371


Grading in this course is done on a straight percentage-of-points basis, i.e., to obtain an A, you need to earn 90% or more of the available points. The grades will not be "curved", and there will be no opportunities for "make-up" or "extra-credit" points. Attendance on the field trips is required. If you miss a field trip, you lose 5 points. If you miss a test, you will receive a score of zero. If you have a legitimate reason (for example, a death in your family) to miss a field trip or test, you may be excused (at the discretion of the instructors) IF AND ONLY IF you provide written documentation (for example, an obituary documenting a death in your family) within one week of missing the class or test. In cases where the instructors determine you have a legitimate excuse, there still will be no make-ups administered: you will be graded only on the basis of the points contained in the field trips and tests you did complete. NOTE that this method reduces the number of points you can afford to lose and still do well in the course.

SICK? First, do your level best to let us know before the field trip/class exercise/test. Second, if you are sick, believe us when we say that we don't want to see you in lab --- please be responsible, and don't spread germs by coming to class with a fever, or hacking and coughing. For illnesses, we pro-rate your grade on the basis of the point-bearing exercises you didn't miss. If you are sick for the final YOU MUST INFORM THE OFFICE OF STUDENT SERVICES in order to be allowed to take a make-up after final exam week is over. The final exam is the only point-bearing exercise for which a make-up is possible.

These policies have been developed over years of teaching this and other courses, and are designed to ensure fair treatment of everyone by eliminating discrepancies in testing and evaluation, and by eliminating differences in the amount of field and study time available to students. I am very willing to discuss my reasoning for these policies, but if you try to talk me into making an exception to them for you, you will fail, and probably make me grumpy to boot.

Point Structure for Grading


Test 1: 60 points, March 9

Final: 60 points, April 30

Field Notebook: 30 points

Worksheets/Quizzes 50 points (5 at 10 points each)

Independent Field Observations: 35 points

SEE: Ebird Set-up Document and Point Count Protocol and Point Count Datasheet and Point Count Example.

Independent Field Observation Locations: Map of Hillside Environmental Education Projector View the locations on Google Earth/Maps

Field Trips: 45 points (Field trips are required: you lose 5 points for every missed trip. Note that field trips are VERY subject to change, depending on birds, weather, circumstances, and whim. Don't assume you know what you are going to miss!)

Collections Work: 20 points (4 hours at 5 points per hour).

You are also expected to keep a Field Notebook. Notebooks will be collected for grading, at random, throughout the course of the semester. You will earn up to a maximum of 30 points for your notebooks (no more than 10 points per grading event); you may not begin work on your independent observations until you have earned at least 20 points on your notebook.

Academic Rules/Conduct

All students should be aware of the guidelines on academic integrity contained in the Student Conduct Code. The Conduct Code is available at http://www.dosa.uconn.edu/student_conduct.html.


If you have questions, by all means collar me or email me and ask. I will post both the questions (questioners will be anonymous) and answers here.

Useful and Amusing Links

Online field guides

Bird songs online!

Feather Identification Resource Online! The Feather Atlas of North American Birds provided high-resolution scans of flight feathers of the major groups of birds; useful for comparison with found feathers whose origin you aren't sure of.

Field guide apps

An article from the NY Times on smart phone apps for birding

A feature comparison of various bird guide apps, inlcuding Sibley, Peterson, NatGeo, and iBird

A forthcoming app for automatically IDing bird song in the field

Apps for finding birds

Cornell's BirdsEye app (for finding recent sightings using the eBird database)

iCTBirds: an app for finding birds in CT using the Connecticut Ornithological Association's CTBirds listserv

A webpage that shows recent sightings from birding hotspots around Storrs (for free!), using the eBird database

Bird blogs

David Sibley's Blog, wherein the field guide guy riffs mostly on the finer and philosophical points of bird identification, and reports his experiments in window treatments to prevent bird strikes.

North Coast (Oregon) Diaries Comments on photo documentation versus detailed notes. See also the March 2, 2008 post on Ugly Gulls (browse Main calendar).

Jobs in Ornithology

Jobs in Ornithology, the job board for the Ornithological Societies of North America. THE central clearing house for field research internships and jobs.

ECOLOG-L listserve postings Job postings, other miscellaneous information and discussions about field ecology.

CT Beardsley Zoo Summer Internships

Collections Work Hours Sign Up

Vertebrate Collections Manager: Sue Hochgraf susan.hochgraf@uconn.edu 860-486-8945

To sign-up, let Dr. Rubega or Chris know which date/hours you would like to work; refer here to see hours already taken. No more than 2 students in an hour block simultaneously, unless Sue Hochgraf approves it.

Date 9 am 10 am 11 am 12 pm

(can only be worked consecutively after an 11 am block)

1 pm 2 pm 3 pm
Feb 2 Jeff C
Feb 9 Jeff C
Feb 16 Jordan R Jordan R Jeff C Steph M Erin C
Feb 23 Jordan R Jordan R Jeff C & Molly Z Molly Z Steph M Melissa K + Erin C not available
Mar 1 not available Molly Z Molly Z Steph M Emily
Mar 8 Zack M Zack M
Mar 15 Spring Break No Collections Work GO BIRDING!
Mar 22 Alex S Zack M Zack M Melissa K + Erin C
Mar 29 Alex S no NEW students, Sue away Melissa K + Erin C no NEW students, Sue away
April 5 Alex S Jenna K Jenna K + Emily
April 12 Alex S Jenna K Jenna K + Emily
April 19
April 26