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Celebrating our students: Marcelo Araya Salas

Dr. Marcelo Araya Salas, post-doctoral researcher, studies the evolution of vocal learning in hummingbirds. Vocal learning is only found in a handful of mammals, including humans, and in three avian orders: songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. Using techniques for measuring and classifying vocalizations of 272 species of hummingbirds and combining these data with techniques for looking… Read more

Celebrating our students: Russell Silva

Undergraduate Russell Silva is an engineering major who is developing a tiny electronic device to be attached to small birds, like hummingbirds, to track their movements. This is challenging, because it needs to be accurate, tiny, and lightweight, and communicate with receivers in forests. His tracker is using incredibly small difference in time delay of… Read more

Celebrating our students: Dr. Gavin Leighton

Dr. Gavin Leighton, postdoc, is studying why plumage among bird species that are not closely related is similar. Is it because one species will benefit from looking like the other? Downy Woodpeckers and Hairy Woodpeckers look similar to each other: is it because Downy Woodpeckers would experience less aggression from Hairy Woodpeckers by looking like… Read more

Celebrating our students: Jessica Dobler

We don’t know if hybridization is more common in some species of birds than others, so undergraduate Jessica Dobler is studying the factors that influence hybridization in birds. She is building a database of bird species and their life history and behavioral characteristics, using primarily information in the Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World… Read more

Celebrating our students: Tucker Birmingham

Undergraduate Tucker Birmingham is investigating the evolution of vocal repertoires across birds by looking at what factors influence repertoire size. She collected information from Birds of North America on each species’ habitat type, if they were cooperative breeders or not, and how many call and song types they have. Early results suggest that forest-dwelling birds… Read more

Celebrating our students: Matthew Lam

Undergraduate Matthew Lam is describing Blue Jay jeer calls, which are given when Blue Jays mob predators and in social contexts. He is using audio recordings of jeer calls in Macaulay Library’s collection and measuring characteristics of the calls with Raven (a program developed by the Bioacoustics Research Program, here at the Lab of Ornithology).… Read more

Celebrating our students: Dr. Karan Odom

Dr. Karan Odom, post-doctoral researcher is investigating how elaborate female and male songs are and what selects for the elaboration. Male songs are typically linked to sexual selection pressures, such as its representation of a high-quality, healthy male; but for females, it may be driven by their need to compete with males for resources or… Read more

Celebrating our students: Emily Keenan

Undergraduate Emily Keenan is examining the coordination of male-female duet singing in Neotropical wrens by measuring the duration and overlap of song phrases between singers. She’s interested in how did these complex, coordinated duets evolve. She is mentored by Dr. Karan Odom. #mlstudents #mlresearch

Celebrating our students: Kristi Lim

Undergraduate Kristi Lim (Class of 2021) is creating a database of which species of birds have documented song in females, along with males. She’s also collecting information on the natural history of these species, including mating systems, social bonds, territoriality. This information will be used to answer questions about the evolution of female song in… Read more

Celebrating our students: Nicola Love

Undergraduate Nicola Love studied how Blue Jays respond to alarm calls of titmice. In her senior honors thesis, she demonstrated that Blue Jays react to Titmice alarm calls and reduce their feeding when they hear Titmice calling to warn of predators. But Blue Jays respond more strongly to alarm calls from other Blue Jays. Additionally,… Read more