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BIO 411

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BIO 411: Ornithology

Field trip to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

Catalog Description: BIO 411 - ORNITHOLOGY
(S) Behavior, environmental relationships, classification and identification of birds, especially those of Central New York. Early morning field trips. Prerequisite: BIO 111 or 202. Lecture/Lab Hours: Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory. Fulfills: LASR; PRES. (3 cr. hr.)
Frequency code S = offered in spring
Additional frequency code descriptions can be found in the Terminology Guide .
Summer TanagerDr. Broyles

Additional Information:   Ornithology generally enrolls 12-16 students per semester and is taught by a passionate naturalist, Dr. Broyles. Most students are junior or senior biology majors, but we have had the occasional students who major in Economics, Psychology, Health, Recreation and Leisure Studies, and Elementary Education who complete the course as an elective or in fulfillment of a minor in Biological Sciences. Student grades are assigned on a number of different exams, quizzes, presentations, and projects.

Green Violet TearLecture: This course is frequently taught in Bowers Hall 1213.  Topics are focused on biological aspects that define birds. These include the origin and evolutionary history of birds, anatomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, communication and systematics. Lectures integrate student centered presentations and discussions on contemporary avian literature.

Lab: Early spring field trips are difficult in Cortland snow. Lab time is focused on examining anatomical and morphological adaptations of birds in the classroom. Pigeon dissections and skin collection analyses are supplemented with segments from the Attenborough series “The Life of Birds.”

Field Trips: The field trips are the highlights of the course. We enjoy the outdoors, the sites and sounds of nature, and the comradery of individuals with similar interests and pursuits. Students are expected to attend all additional field trips. The more memorable excursions include: (1) Derby Hill to observe migrations of hawks, eagles, and falcons; (2) Montezuma N.W.R. to observe migratory waterfowl, bald eagles, northern harriers, and osprey; (3) Hoxie Gorge Woodcock Hunt and complimentary dinner chez Broyles; and (4) Cape May New Jersey to observe the first wave of migrant song and shorebirds (don’t forget dinner at the Ugly Mug!).

Spectrogram of Wood Thrush song
Wood Thrush Spectrograph

Digital Sound Library: Students make parabolic microphones to collect natural avian sounds from the field. Avians sounds are captured on cassette tapes, digitized on computers and examined using spectrographs created by sound analysis software.

Wood Thrush Song