This is an advanced course in ecology that focuses on species identification, methodology and basic ecology about birds. The course is based on learning the basic skills about techniques for studying birds in the field (including visual identification and identification on vocalizations), as well as theoretical moments about bird morphology, physiology and ecological adaptations. More specifically, the field studies involve learning how to catch and ring birds (using mist nests, examination of species, age and sex in the hand), how to perform line transects and territory mapping, as well as performing studied of nest-box breeding birds (where the course follow two nest-box population throughout the breeding season). We also devote two days to longer excursion to different habitats around Scania. The course is concluded with own projects, where the students apply techniques the y have learned during the course for a specific research project. The teaching is in the form of excursions, lectures, group exercises and an own project.
We make one whole day trip to northeast and west Scania, visiting a lake (Hammarsjön), coastal meadows (Äspet) and deciduous forest and heath (Ravlunda, Stenshuvud), as well as agricultural habitats (Fyledalen). One excursion is made to the Krankesjön-Vomb area, where a rich lake, open meadows and pine forest are visited. During the course we also make at least 10 excursions to our field study site at Linnebjer and Frueräften, where we carry out studies of nest-boxes, censuses and ringing.
A project (in groups of 2-3 persons) is performed at the end of the course during 2-3 weeks. In this project a suitable field (or occasionally lab) based project is carried out, when data is collected, analysed and written up as a report (which is graded). The projects are also presented orally during a concluding conference.
Already during the second week of the course there is a written examination to control that students have learned the birds species required (name and basic field marks). Just before the start of the own project the written examination is given, covering the theoretical content of the course. In addition, the written and oral presentation of the project is graded with respect mainly to experimental design and the ecological/evolutionary discussion and presentation.
The course provides a solid foundation for identifying and studying birds in the field and the hand. You will get basis knowledge about how to study birds, both as basic and applied research. The course suits those who plan a research career using birds as study subjects, but also those who want to broaden their biological scope about birds in general. Also those who aim for a more applied job in conservation and/or censusing will benefit greatly from this course.
Professor, KVA Research Fellow
The course will be given in English during the second part of the spring semester.