September 8, 2015: Migration Marvels

Science Pub RVA #27 

You Again?
Migratory Marvels of the Prothonotary Warbler

Dr. Barnett shared his experience with citizen science from the simple exercise of documenting birds at his backyard feeder to sophisticated census requiring extensive bird call recognition. Jenna Dodson and Nicholas Moy offered insights on bird migration generally and specific knowledge gained from the longitudinal research on the Prothonotary Warbler lead by VCU Rice Rivers Center, including their personal research in Virginia and Panama.

B. Lewis Barnett, III, PhD
Dr. Barnett is an Associate Professor of Computation Science at the University of Richmond, bird enthusiast, photographer and citizen scientist. Dr. Barnett earned his B.S. at Furman University and his PhD at the University of Texas. You can read some of his ornithological adventures in Thrasher, the newsletter of the Richmond Audubon Society, of which Lewis is a Past President and gawk at his list of bird sightings here and peruse his photographs of birds and beers here.  Lewis offers the below resources for anyone who wants to explore bird-related citizen science opportunities.

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (eBird, YardMap, Project Feeder Watch, NestWatch, Celebrate Urban Birds, Great Backyard Bird Count)
Christmas Bird Count
Hopewell circle contact:  Arun Bose @
USGS Breeding Bird Survey
National Park Service Breeding Bird Monitoring (Malvern Hill)
Kristen Allen @
Belmead Plantation Spring Bird Surveys (Powhatan)
Michelle Whitehurst @

Jenna Dodson
Ms. Dodson just earned her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University studying the breeding ecology of Prothonotary Warblers.  Her undergraduate degree, also at VCU, included a minor in music and a research project that led her into the “bird world”. Before heading to Senegal to serve as an Agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer, she wants to pass on her love for the species and inspire your curiosity about the big picture; ecology and systems thinking.

Nicholas Moy
Mr. Moy also wrapped up his Masters of Science this summer at VCU and has begun work as a Geographic Information Specialists at NatureServe. Prior to moving to Virginia for his graduate studies, Nicholas performed a variety of field works for the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory in Ontario, Canada, the National Park Service in Tennessee, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Utah. Originally, from Chicago, he earned a B.S. in Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As with most Science Pub gatherings, participants didn’t just ask questions; they contributed some valuable information to the conversation. Below are just two of the resources mentioned.

Virginia Native Plant Society
Click here for their list of local nurseries that raise native plants that aren’t cultivars most often found at big box garden stores.

Virginia Cooperative Extension: putting university knowledge into the hands of people

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