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Student spotlights

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…

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…

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).…

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…

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,…

Celebrating our students: Joseph Welklin

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…