SCIE 613
Biology of Birds

Geoffrey Hammerson

Text

Elphrick, C., J. B. Dunning, Jr., and D. A. Sibley, editors. 2001. The Sibley guide to bird life & behavior. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Readings

Please read pages 8-120 before the first class. Following each field trip, please read in the text the sections that cover the bird groups (taxonomic families) we observed in the field (for example, "Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies, Family Scolopacidae"). All classroom presentation materials will be posted as pdf files that you can view and download from Blackboard (available through your student portfolio).

Important Information for the First Class Meeting

Please meet in the Vine Street parking lot (V lot, just south of the tennis courts) at 7:00 am. Wear clothes and footwear suitable for a field trip; bring binoculars (essential), notebook, pen/pencil; hat; sun screen; any bird field guide; camera (optional). After the field trip we will return to campus and convene in the classroom for lecture and discussions. Field trip destinations are in part weather dependent and will be provided on the day prior to each trip.

Course Schedule
August 9 (Thursday)

Morning field trip. Lecture/discussion topics: course overview; bird diversity; evolution; external features.

August 10 (Friday)

Morning field trip. Lecture/discussion topics: feathers, flight, and molt; basic anatomy and physiology.

August 11 (Saturday)

Morning field trip. Lecture/discussion topics: sensory systems and communication; migration.

August 12 (Sunday)

Morning field trip. Lecture/discussion topics: breeding biology.

August 13 (Monday)

Morning field trip. Lecture/discussion topics: ecological relationships; conservation biology of birds.

Requirements
  • Field trip reports (5). See guidelines in Course Documents section of Blackboard. Reports are due one week after the field trip. Each report constitutes 10% of the course grade.

  • Take-home exam. Will be available in the Course Documents section of Blackboard. Due August 28. 40% of grade.

  • Museum study guide questions. To be completed at Yale's Peabody Museum. Available in the Course Documents section of Blackboard. Due August 27. 10% of grade.

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