Welcome to Ornithology AEC 501

Our goal for this course is to build a foundation of knowledge that will stimulate you to keep learning about birds for the rest of your life. Our approach will focus primarily on the behavior and ecology of birds, and the development of field skills.

Sightings - Extra Credit

Earn extra credit by adding species to the class list or answering the "Question of the Week."

Field Labs

Friday morning labs will focus on developing identification skills and understanding modern bird sampling methods.

Coastal Field Trip

We will visit the Outer Banks the weekend of January 18 - 19. Expect to see over 100 species on Pea, Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands, and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.


Course Instructor and Teaching Assistant



Course News

News & Notes for Ornithology AEC 501 Spring 2020


Corvid19 Big Day Summaries - Sightings (865), Species (163)

From Daniel - WEVI, WEVI nest building, EABL nest

Fun Great Horned Owl NestCam in Indiana

OK Holly, you're next.

ABC's eNews The Healing Power of Birds

Awesome bird research at William and Mary's Center for Conservation Biology

Daniel found a wild Bluebird nest at Lake Raleigh!

Wisdom is back on Midway!

Kentucky Warbler the Forest Phantom. ABC Bird of the Week.

New Articles in The IBIS and a special issues on Migration

Spring Migrants Are Here !

Hi everyone.  Great time to get out for some birding to catch the first spring migrants.  I had Blue-headed Vireo, Black and White Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Louisiana Waterthrush in our neighborhood today.  That trail we walked with Mark Johns at Ritter Park is awesome at this time of year.  Peak migrant watching will occur over the next two weeks as birds continue to arrive, but before the leaves are out.  Keep submitting those sightings and nests. We've broken the 100 species mark!!! Start making your plans for our Corvid 19 Big Day on Friday 10 April.  We will start early with a live-stream/group chat bird walk, and continue on our own and online for the next 24 hours.  Stay tuned for details.

Zoom Link for Movebank Lab on 3/27 at 8:00 AM

Thanks Daniel !

"I looked up some about the common nighthawk regarding ground-nesting. First, not too much is known. But, it looks like chicks are able to double their mass by day two and begin self-movement. They also blend in relatively well from day one. They independently relocate each day, moving up to 48 m. Parents also actively defend, with males booming. But very little is known about predation."

Keas make Predictions

Oldest Modern Bird a.k.a. Wonderchicken

Making An Uncertain Future A Little Easier, Courtesy of Birds

Comments on changes to MBTA due 3/19, send yours to Jackie by Thursday for 10 extra pts!

Why Birds are the world's best engineers

Introduction and Literature Cited sections due Monday 3/23

Lecture and Lab Syllabus Updated

Course will move online starting 3/23 and meet at our regular time using Zoom

World's smallest Bird/Dinosaur discovered in Myanmar

DOBSERV Software for calculating detection and abundance from double-observer counts

ABC Birdcalls "Invasive Bird Species"

Class Zoo Trip 21 March - Cancelled

Additional notes on the "Clock Shift" experiments.

Zoo Trip Saturday 2/22 is cancelled due to weather. We'll reschedule in class on Monday.

Lab on Friday 2/21 is cancelled due to weather. The zoo trip is on. We'll depart at 7:30.

Yellow Cardinal spotted on campus. More on Yellow Cardinals

Dont miss the Woodcock Walk with John Connors Monday 17 February 5 PM

Dependent Double Observer Method we discussed in lab on Friday. Thanks Vanessa!

Monday's Lecture Notes have been updated.

You will turn in your field notebooks on Monday 2/10 before Exam 1.

Bird Blitz Lake Johnson in next Friday's lab. You will work with your lab team to sample 8-10 points along a trail. Details in class on Monday.

From Holly Starenchak.....

PNAS Ocean Sentinal Albatross

Preparing a Study Skin Background for Lab Friday 31 January

Flight Feathers Allow Continuously Morphing Wing Science 17 January 2020

2020 Coastal Trip

Species List - send updates!

IBP Bird Pop - Why Molt Matters

Parrots Show Social Intelligence

Trends in Global Species Diversity

A recent paper in SCIENCE finds that etween 1990 and 2019, approximately 160 new bird species descriptions were made worldwide.

From Hannah O'Carroll.....


Materials for Sampling Lab on Friday 10 January

We will meet in 282 David Clark from 08:00 - 11:00 on Friday 10 January to discuss avian sampling. Links to materials are provided below. Bring a laptop to lab and install the software PRESENCE 12.7 and download the WORKED EXAMPLES as a reference before class. We'll discuss avian SAMPLING AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN, and Dr. Mike Cove will give an introduction to OCCUPANCY SAMPLING and an analysis using SAMPLE DATA for Blue Grosbeak. Jackie Hausle will give an introduction to MULTIPLE OBSERVER sampling, and describe the field lab on double observer sampling that we'll conduct on Friday 7 February.

Welcome to Ornithology 2020

The first day of class is Monday 6 January 2018. We meet in Room 102 David Clark Labs from 8:30 - 9:45 AM. The text for this class is Ornithology, Third Edition, by Frank Gill. You will also need a pair of binoculars and a waterproof field notebook. The Coastal Trip is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday 18 - 19 January. We will leave campus at 6:00 AM on Saturday and return at 11 PM on Sunday. Contact Dr. Simons if you have questions.