Science

Can voices from the Macaulay Library help return illegally captured birds back home?

By Kathi Borgmann
Illegal wildlife trade is a booming billion-dollar business, ranking third among illegal activities after drug and human trafficking. Many millions of live and dead animals across the globe are sold every year for traditional medicines, jewelry, and personal collections. Among animals trafficked for the pet trade, birds are the most exploited group. Every year millions…

Female bird song

By Kathi Borgmann
More and more scientists are turning their attention to female birds, uncovering new behaviors and changing the way we think about evolution (see the recent Living Bird article). Karan Odom, a Cornell Lab of Ornithology postdoctoral researcher, and her team used assets in the Macaulay Library and discovered that female bird song is present in…

Birds-of-paradise have it all

By Kathi Borgmann
You can’t have it all, is a phrase many of us have probably heard throughout our lives, but new research on birds-of-paradise suggests that maybe you can…at least if you are a bird-of-paradise. Russell Ligon, a postdoctoral researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and his coauthors Christopher Diaz, Janelle Morano, Jolyon Troscianko, Martin Stevens,…

Celebrating our students: Dr. Karan Odom

By Macaulay Library Team
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…

Celebrating our students: Jessica Dobler

By Macaulay Library Team
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…

Celebrating our students: Marcelo Araya Salas

By Macaulay Library Team
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…

Celebrating our students: Russell Silva

By Macaulay Library Team
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…