Bird Migration • Aeroecology • Bioacoustics • Radar Ornithology • Climate Change
First and foremost, I study bird migration. And I do this primarily in two ways: by lifting binoculars to watch birds literally move from one place to another, and by taking advantage of incredible and rapid 20th century technological advances in radar and acoustic remote sensing. For the former, I work closely with the eBird team and a cadre of collaborators to understand patterns of bird movements by examining observations from an armada of citizen scientists; for the latter, I mentor postdoctoral fellows who can help me leverage partnerships with computer scientists to apply cutting edge machine learning tools to understand patterns from enormous quantities of radar and acoustic data. The patterns span local to continental scales of space and hours to decades of time.
Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
M.S., Zoology, Clemson University
B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University
Aside from myriad experiences as a child that led me to and kept me engaged in birding, the moments that put me on the path to where I am and to where I plan to go? There are two: First as a freshman at Cornell University, on an evening in early October 1991, standing atop Mt Pleasant (near Ithaca, New York) with Bill Evans, I realized just how little I knew about and how much I wanted to know about migration, at once humbled and inspired by the experience of listening to wave after wave of vocal thrushes next to a true expert.
Second, three years out of undergraduate studies in April 1998, at a crossroads of deciding what career path and life history to choose, watching a migration ecology legend, Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux, speak in St Louis on the power and potential of radar ornithology, I had the epiphany of what would be my future to study migration at scales of space and time that, at the time, I could only imagine (but have now realized!).
“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”