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Wendy P. Tori

Associate Professor of Biology, Earlham College

The goal of my project is to characterize the feathers used by Tree Swallows (and potentially Eastern Bluebirds) and examine the effects those feathers have on bird reproduction. June is late in terms of Tree Swallow reproductive season, but for my project I only need nests at the later stages of the breeding process. I am interested in collecting:

  • Information about feathers that make up the nest lining (e.g., number of feathers, type of feathers, size of feathers, and extract DNA from some feathers); and
  • Information about parental investment (clutch sizes) and chick condition when fledging (fledgling weight).

I plan to use this information to identify the species to which the feathers belong, as well as to examine if there is a relationship between feathers and parental investment (clutch size)/offspring condition (weight). I would like to band nestlings.

It is very helpful to use Miami University nest boxes to increase our sample sizes.