Bird Conservation (BIOL464)
Senior Inquiry: Biology Literature
Augustana College

Professor: Stephen B. Hager, Ph.D., stevehager@augustana.edu, 309.794.3439 (office),
website: http://www.augustana.edu/users/hager

Course Description
Students will study the literature on how natural bird populations are affected by various biotic and abiotic environmental factors. Knowledge of bird biology and behavior will be derived, in part, from several field trips. Using the known (i.e., literature and the scientific method) and field observations, students will ask a novel question about bird conservation and propose the rationale and methods for why their question needs to be addressed.

Content of this webpage
The subpages of this site contain pictures and information from the 2012 Bird Conservation class, which went out in the field each week throughout the term. However, starting in 2013, the class goes out into the field roughly two times early in the term. We spend the remainder of the term focusing on particular aspects of bird conservation as presented in the primary literature, selecting a research topic according to the goals of the class, and developing that topic into a real-world, quality research proposal. The proposal is presented both as a PowerPoint presentation and as a written document. 

Sample student research topics in previous classes

  • Toxicity of cigarette butts used in bird nest material
  • Post-Construction assessment of bird mortality at a new window farm in Oklahoma
  • Bird Conservation through the Genetic Understanding of Avian Malaria
  • The effects of lead-free ammunition on California condors
  • Negative consequences of conservation measures on the fitness of the Black Robin in New Zealand
  • Bird species killed by free-roaming domestic cats at bird feeders