DelVal Ornithology Course Spotlight

By Victoria Dondero

Clear skies.

Extended Wings soaring over Lake Galena.

Sounds of songbirds singing in the brisk morning air and leaves crunching.

These are the sights and sounds that were experienced while being apart of Dr. Greg George’s Ornithology class for the day.

Walking down the path towards the bird watching bridge at Peace Valley Nature Center, the leaves crunched under students’ feet, their gazed fixed on the sky. It didn’t take long before students started yelling out different species to record in their field notebooks.

In students’ field notebooks, they record the birds they hear or see, the day’s temperature, details of the clouds, how the sky looks, and if there is any wind.

“Part of that is that we keep good field notes and teach them how to get onto birds and to look for particular little details that separate one species from another.” Said Dr. George

Dr. George emphasizes the importance of putting in field hours and making time to spend in the field and using that time productively.

“Part of this is very important for a career development perspective when they go off to work for other biologists and collect data for them, field notebooks are kind of this standard operating equipment, so we make sure students know that all your weather information, location details, the time of the day you’re doing your surveys,” George said.

Students were constantly on watch for different species and even got the pleasure of seeing a Great Blue Herring and a Bald Eagle among many songbirds and Canada Geese.

“For me, it’s a choice. It’s a decision to leave the comfort of a warm bed in the early, freezing hours of a Friday morning, put on three plus layers, and stand on a bridge for hours looking for birds. I can’t think of a better to spend a morning. I don’t regret a single moment of it. And if I have it my way, I will be doing it again and again for the rest of my life.” Lizzie Weed 25′

Attending the Ornithology class was such a pleasure for us to experience what other majors’ classes are like, and what field experiences that are available to students. Media and Communication Professor Marion Callahan attended the class with me and took pictures of the wildlife from our shadowing experience with the entire Ornithology Lab.

For more information about this class check out Ornithology BY-2240 on self service or contact Dr. Greg George at gregory.george@delval.edu

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