What can we learn from 30+ years of bird migration data?

Every spring and fall, large numbers of birds migrating through the Chicago region are killed as they collide with buildings.  For the last 35 years, the Bird Division of The Field Museum has been monitoring bird migration through these collisions at McCormick Place, and over the last 8 years also in the loop region of Chicago.  Over 60,000 specimens have been recovered.  These birds provide a unique data set for analyzing trends in migration and this will be the focus of this internship.  Among the questions to be addressed are 1) whether there have been changes in morphology over the span of the study and 2) what are the effects on bird collisions of lights on versus lights off at McCormick Place.  Development of independent uses of the dataset will also be encouraged.

Research methods and techniques:  REU participant will be trained in museum collection management, morphological data collection, specimen preparation, and data analysis.  Participant will be taught to analyze his/her data with modern statistical methods.  Also included will be literature review and working toward preparing a manuscript for publication.

Advisors: Dr. David Willard (Adjunct Curator, Birds), Dr. Ben Marks (Collection Manager, Birds) and Dr. Douglas Stotz (Research Ecologist, Action Center)