September 2013

jasonfischerwebJason Fischer is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois in the Program for Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. He is wrapping up his research which has included 4 years of mist netting and banding birds at feeders in Champaign, Vermillion, and Piatt counties, which has included work at the Homer Lake Visitor Center and at the homes of Jim Smith and Sue and Tom Smith. Jason will be the guest speaker at the September 26th meeting of the MiddleFork Audubon meeting at the Danville Public library at 7PM.

People change their environments in drastic ways to meet their own needs and desires, but many species of wildlife are able to thrive in these modified habitats. I am interested in how urbanization affects population dynamics and behavior of birds in particular. I work along a gradient of urbanization from rural farms to residential neighborhoods in east-central Illinois using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to quantify foraging behavior and survival. To do this work, I capture birds at my study sites and attach RFID tags to bands that I put on their legs. At each of my study sites, I have a specially designed bird feeder to record when marked birds visit the feeder. With this information, I hope to gain a better understanding of how urbanization is affecting feeder birds.