As of 1/2/2016 I have currently seen:
- 239 species in NJ.
- 305 species in the United States.
- 533+ species throughout the world.
As an undergraduate at Rutgers, I took ornithology in 2004. From there, I did a season of avian field research in SE Arizona during summer 2004. The fieldwork centered on a habitat comparison study for band-tailed pigeon nest depredation rates. I saw incredible birds, but unfortunately wasn’t a lister at the time, so I can’t say for certain what it was I saw. Alas!
Upon graduating from Rutgers with a B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resource Management, I became a science teacher in Newark, NJ which took up most of my time and I stopped birding for a number of years. After awhile, I wanted more of a challenge and went back to graduate school where I took a graduate level ornithology class in 2010 thus renewing my interest. During my return to school I became involved in an American Kestrel nesting research program. 2016 will mark my eighth season participating in the research, although I’m much less active now than I have been in previous seasons.
In 2012, I left teaching to focus on my graduate studies and in doing so I’ve become more focused on developing my bird identification skills. I completed my studies in 2013, defending a thesis on the decline of the American Kestrel. I could go on and on about it, but that’s what the thesis is for. I defended and graduated in May 2013, but the birding continued.
Starting in Fall 2014 I began a PhD program in Biology at Rutgers University which keeps me out of the field far more than I would like! My interest continues to be ornithology and in spring 2016 I will be developing my thesis research proposal as I prepare for my qualifying exams. As a PhD student I am working with my adviser to establish an urban banding station to help us learn more about how birds move through highly populated areas during migration. So far my research interests have lead me to analyzing long-term migration trends for passerines along the east coast (using USGS banding records and Mathematica) as well as to Honduras with Operation Wallacea where I focused on detection techniques and their effectiveness to develop a model for rapidly assessing cloud forest avian communities (on going). Feel free to learn more about my professional interests at my LinkedIn profile or contact me with questions or opportunities for collaboration.
In addition to being a student, I have more than a decade’s worth of teaching experience as a classroom teacher, adjunct professor and environmental educator.
My kit currently consists of my Nikon Monarchs, my Alpen scope, and a Canon 70D camera which I use with a Tamron 18-270mm and Sigma 50-500mm lens. I use Lightroom for photo editing and when editing photos from my phone on the go, I use Snapseed. My kit would also be incomplete without at least one thermos of tea, no matter the climate.
One final note, I have a tendency for developing owl envy and an inexplicable interest in penguins.