mr flappy fieldworkfail

fieldworkfail interview

A few questions to Jeff :

What were you doing with this group?

I was leading a group of school girls on a bird walk along the Susquehanna River. The program is called Women Empowered By Science (WEBS) and we bring groups of young women on campus to do science with university faculty.

What did you do with the birds after catching them ?

Depends on the project. I was looking at blood parasites along urban-rural gradients so I was taking a small blood sample and releasing them. Lately, I’ve been catching birds to examine diets and I take blood samples and a tail feather. We take blood to figure out diets  by looking at the carbon-nitrogen isotopes.

All the birds are released and we often catch them in successive years.

interview flappy bird

What happened after the unfortunate fate of Mr. Flappy ?

The teacher complained to our department chair that we didn’t ensure the safety of birds – that’s true but how do you keep falcons from eating birds?  Anyways, the daughter of that teacher was in WEBS a few years later and was skeptical of the whole exercise of catching birds. Well, in WEBS camp we captured a bunch of birds, all flew off OK, and the daughter came my shadow for the rest of the day.

What is your best memory working on the field ?

I’ve done research in the Brazilian Amazon, longleaf pine forests of Alabama, and old forests in the Poconos, but my favorite moments are catching birds for kids in our local urban park.