[CHIRPING] [MUSIC PLAYING]
SARA KAISER: The idea was to have a place where undergraduates could go to have a field immersive experience. There really hasn't been anything like that at the lab. So we realized that there was a really good opportunity to connect with this place that had been doing bird research for about 50 years.
The Hubbard Brookfield Ornithology program is a year-long program, but it can be more, depending on the student's goals. The students really come here to do original research. There's a lot for them to focus on, although most of the students focus on the Black-throated Blue Warblers. They have a very stable population and are throughout the valley.
So they come to work with me, and narrow down their focus until we can really figure out what they're most interested in and how they could plug-in. We have this hyperbaric ecosystem study that started 1963. And so, we have context to everything that we do. We know what it was like decades ago. We know what it's like now. And we have data that shows what has changed. It's just this really rich place with so much knowledge.
The students have a whole set of skills that they want to gain. And so we focus on training them, and that's very unique about this program. They learn all the basic skills that most field ornithologists would need in order to do their own research.
AMAYA BECKLER: For as long as I can remember, I just really love birds. I love flipping through the field guide, dreaming of all the birds that could show up in my backyard.
When I first got here, I was mostly doing arrival surveys, just seeing where birds are when they first get on plot, and then, started doing nest searching.
SARA KAISER: You could probably get at it from behind the log.
AMAYA BECKLER: And then, recently, I've also started to do some banding work, which is really exciting to me. So we set up the net, and the birds probably singing somewhere nearby.
It's really rewarding when the bird finally hits the net. From there, we do something we call extraction, which is just basically untangling that bird from those thin threads.
SARA KAISER: So why don't you go ahead and get the bands.
AMAYA BECKLER: 294041512.
Once we have those birds in hand, we also take a lot of information. [INAUDIBLE]
SARA KAISER: A little more. Yeah.
AMAYA BECKLER: I love getting to see these birds super up close, and get all these special measurements from them that we can't see otherwise, to get a really nice up close view of those feathers and tell the age of the bird and everything like that. And so each one of those measurements is going to be going to a different study. And so it's very cool to know how it might benefit these birds in the future.
JACKSON HUTCHISON: I feel like, all in all, there's a lot of skills that I've gathered here, and kind of all at once and it's also in the White Mountains, which are beautiful, and I love being outside. 2940. I'm deploying tags on fledglings, Black-throated blue warblers-- hey, calm down-- which is kind of a demanding physiological thing. You can see the wing here.
Once they fledge, we'll be tracking them every day to see what sort of habitats they use and see if there's survivorships. So there's a lot of predators out there. So we want to see how many live. No one's really studied it before, so it should be really interesting to try and figure that out.
I don't really need this anymore, because we know the fledgling is right in here. We just had the male come in and feed it.
ERYN WOERNLEY: Howard Brook definitely exceeded my expectations. I was not expecting to have this much of a diversity in the stuff we get to do. Field work wise, Jack and I are getting pretty similar stuff. But I'm looking more at fledgling-parent interactions, so I'm going to be recording behaviors of the parents, seeing how long they're taking care of the fledglings, and how long they're feeding them, and figuring out when the fledglings become independent.
He was only there for about two seconds, which is pretty typical. They'll just go into feed, and then, immediately leave to forage some more. It's all just like a really fantastic experience.
We located him at 7:40, and then, immediately, we can start our pred count and let everything settle in.
LEZHI HAO: I wanted to apply because I know I'm really into birds, from high school, and I really want to do bird-related research. That's, actually, a part of the reason why I go to Cornell.
SARA KAISER: So you put it in that envelope. And then you need the next one.
LEZHI HAO: My research is focused on studying the plumage-signaling function in female Black-throated Blue Warblers.
It's definitely more than nine.
SARA KAISER: Mm-mm.
LEZHI HAO: I will be looking at the size of the wing patch on the females, and the coloration of the breast feather.
SARA KAISER: The photographer's grip is when these two fingers are almost like scissoring the legs. That's when people can take photos. See how she follows me.
LEZHI HAO: I had the first ever opportunity to handle a female bird in my hand. So when I grab it, I should use defenders.
SARA KAISER: Yes. So if your hands here, and over her body, and then you can use this finger to perch.
LEZHI HAO: My hands are very cold in the morning. So when I handled the female, she feels very warm in my hand.
SARA KAISER: How does that feel?
LEZHI HAO: It feels warm. Also, my hands are cold. And she is like looking at me very nervously. And I'm also looking at her very nervously.
SARA KAISER: You want to see, like, how much it extends. So put this-- and you're just going to open up your hand.
LEZHI HAO: We get the processing done as soon as possible and release her.
SARA KAISER: Just kind of go like this. There she goes. There she is. She'll probably kind of pick at her bands a little bit, and preen, since we did bleed her.
LEZHI HAO: Yeah, I'm very proud of what we did today. It was successful. Yeah, cool. Yeah, I can see here on the log now. [INAUDIBLE] Wow. That's super cool.
SARA KAISER: What I love about Hubbard Brook is that it's not just Cornell working with Dartmouth. It's Cornell and Dartmouth working with the Forest Service. And it's working with the Smithsonian, and doing education outreach with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation. There are lots of doors open to them with the kind of training that they receive here, and especially, having done original research and to have something tangible, like a thesis that they've created. It really does open a lot of doors for them.
AMAYA BECKLER: Hubbard Brook has already been really incredible. Ultimately, my goal as a researcher working with these birds, is going to meaningfully make a difference for them, whether it's preserving habitat or just better understanding their life histories, so we can target conservation in the areas that mostly matter for them. That's really important to me.
JACKSON HUTCHISON: So I would definitely endorse Hubbard Brook as a place to go for your summer experience. You learn so many skills. And it's just a beautiful place. You're around other awesome undergrads from both Cornell and other universities.
ERYN WOERNLEY: Yeah, one thing that's really great about Hubbard Brook is the diversity of skills you get. So like coming here, all the skills that you get are applicable to other Ornithology jobs, too. So you can use them everywhere. And also, just the community is fantastic. Everyone at Hubbard Brook is so nice and very considerate.
LEZHI HAO: Hubbard Brookfield Ornithology program, for me, has been a very rewarding experience. I really got a lot of mentorship from Sara, the principal investigator. And I also got a lot of help from my group mates. So I'm happy that I've chosen this program.
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The Hubbard Brook Field Ornithology Program is a year-long, field-based research and training program in ornithology based during the summer months at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest has served as training grounds for learning and practicing a variety of field techniques used to study birds (500+ participants). The Hubbard Brook Field Ornithology Program provides Cornell undergraduates meaningful, field-based research experiences and the opportunity to develop original research leading to peer-reviewed publications to support their development as scholars.For more information visit: birds.cornell.edu/hubbardbrook/