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Student spotlights

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…

Celebrating our students: Tucker Birmingham

By Macaulay Library Team
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…

Celebrating our students: Matthew Lam

By Macaulay Library Team
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).…

Celebrating our students: Kristi Lim

By Macaulay Library Team
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…

Celebrating our students: Nicola Love

By Macaulay Library Team
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,…

Celebrating our students: Joseph Welklin

By Macaulay Library Team
This week we are celebrating our Cornell University undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs who work with us to explore scientific questions related to the behavior, ecology, and evolution of birds. Graduate student, Joseph Welklin, studies how the social environment influences Red-backed Fairy-wren plumage coloration. Young males molt into distinct black and red plumage at the start…