Sunday, October 11, 2009

Migratory Bird Research Update

Wow, it's been a month since I have posted here. A lot has happened since then. School has kept me busy, I continue to hawkwatch on the mountain once a week, I took a week off to fully experience the swine flu! etc. In fact, I am still recovering from that last one... I have also made progress on my research. My proposal and previous updates are on my blog.

The first major development is that I have decided to split my research into two portions, the first focused on weather, and the second on the predator prey aspects. The goal for this semester is to complete the manuscript for the weather impact, while continuing to make progress on the predator-prey. The avian predator-avian prey study requires that the weather details be well understood as they are definitely complicating factors. In the study of the weather impacts on migration, it was discovered that the weather impacts are different in the intermountain west than is documented in the scientific literature. This is a very exciting result. This increases the chances of publication and definitely illustrates a meaningful contribution to our knowledge of the ecology of avian migration.

Adult female Cooper's Hawk.

Statistics, statistics... A lot of my time recently has been focused on the statistical analysis. I am fairly comfortable with the casual use of statistics, but this paper must be rock solid. This has required me to do a significant amount of background studying, learn a new computing environment (R statistical), and to take on a statistical adviser. It's all good. My initial findings have continued to hold up during the process.


Abstracts. In February is a joint meeting of the American Ornithologist's Union, the Coopers Ornithological Society, and the Canadian Ornithological Society. I am looking to submit an abstract to the conference in the hopes to present my research findings there. Abstracts are due in early November. I also hope that they will provide me a travel grant as well! Downtown San Diego is not the cheapest place to stay.

My favorite, the Peregrine Falcon!

Writing. I have completed a very rough draft of the first research manuscript and the abstract for submission. It still needs a lot of work, but getting the first draft is always the hardest for me. The result is that I am much more optimistic about the next couple of months and meeting all of my deadlines, while keeping my grades up in all of my classes.