Welcome to Ornithology AEC 501

Our goal for this course is to build a foundation of knowledge that will stimulate you to keep learning about birds for the rest of your life. Our approach will focus primarily on the behavior and ecology of birds, and the development of field skills.

Sightings - Extra Credit

Earn extra credit by adding species to the class list or answering the "Question of the Week."

Field Labs

Friday morning labs will focus on developing identification skills and understanding modern bird sampling methods.

Coastal Field Trip

We will visit the Outer Banks the weekend of January 16-17. Expect to see over 100 species on Pea, Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands, and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.

Course Instructor and Teaching Assistants

Course News

News & Notes for Ornithology AEC 501 Spring 2016

2/4/2016 How Can Vultures Eat Rotten Roadkill and Survive?

Submitted by Coleen Grant.

1/28/2016 Updates to Lab Syllabus and Lab Project

We have updated the Lab Syllabus due to the cancellation of classes last Friday. Tomorrow, 29 January, we will spend the entire period with John Gerwin and Brian O'Shea learning about the bird collection at the NC Museum. Meet at the vans at 7:45. Our lab with Dr. Roland Kays to learn about recent advances in Animal Tracking has been rescheduled for Friday, 4 March. We have also updated the Lab Project page to reflect the objectives of the 2016 project.

1/21/2016 Yangchen and Movebank

We'll meet at the NC Museum with Dr. Roland Kays next Friday, 29 January, to learn about recent advances in Animal Tracking. Learn more about Tracking Bald Eagles and recent developments in Movebank. Looks like we drove right past Yangchen on our way to the coast last weekend.


There were a few mistakes on the results I originally posted from last Friday's lab. These have now been corrected, but please make sure you update your data and analysis accordingly. Please, play close attention to the data on lines 6 and 64 in the Excel spreadsheet, as the data in these cells have been changed.


Lucas compiled a checklist of birds seen on the Coastal Trip. Let us know if we missed anything. Send Shilo your photos from the trip and we'll post them on the Photos page.


The class data for the Double-Sampling Detectability Lab is now available. Your write-up for this lab is due this Friday, January 22, along with your Occupancy Lab exercise.

1/15/2016 Coastal Bird Lists

Here is a CHECKLIST of Outer Banks birds and a SUMMARY of species seen in 2014. See you all in the morning.


A key to the in-lab occupancy exercise is available HERE. There will be a homework help session on Wednesday, January 20, 10:00AM - Noon in DCL. Use the in-lab exercise as a template for the homework and come with any additional questions on Wednesday.

1/13/2016 Lab Project Teams

Colleen Grant Megan King Frankie Fann
Ana Rivera--Burgos Amber Bledsoe Sarah Denoble
Kathryn Nilsson Mary Osborn Franco Gigliotti
Lina Aita Kristen Lewey Madi McDiarmid
Emily Bruff April Boggs Lanette Phillips
Khai Button Jens Kosch Lucas Bobay



The OCCUPANCY EXERCISE and accompanying Flycatcher DATA from last Friday's sampling lab are now available. The exercise (5 points) is due on Friday 22 January.


The "Sightings" and "Question of the Week" pages are now open. Contribute early and often!


We have updated the MULTIPLE OBSERVER handout for Friday's lab.

1/6/2016 Warning from the Birding Community to the Terrorists in Oregon: We're Watching You.

Submitted by Coleen Grant.

1/6/2016 Materials for Sampling Lab on Friday 8 January

We will meet in 282 David Clark from 08:00 - 11:00 on Friday 8 January to discuss avian sampling. Links to materials are provided below. Bring a laptop to lab and install the statistical software R before class. R for Windows or Mac is available HERE. Be sure to open R on your laptop to verify your installation before class. Nathan Hostetter will give an introduction to avian SAMPLING AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN and give and example of OCCUPANCY SAMPLING and an analysis in R using SAMPLE DATA for Blue Grosbeak. Shilo Felton will give an introduction to MULTIPLE OBSERVER sampling, illustrate an example of DOUBLE OBSERVER sampling in R, and describe the field lab on double observer sampling that we'll conduct on Friday 15 January.

1/1/2016 Welcome to Ornithology 2016

The first day of class is Wednesday 6 January 2016. We meet in Room 102 David Clark Labs from 8:30 - 9:45 AM. The text for this class is Ornithology, Third Edition, by Frank Gill. It is available in the NCSU bookstore. You will also need a pair of binoculars and a waterproof field notebook. Contact Dr. Simons if you have questions.