Research Associates

Braddock Bay Bird Observatory collaborates with researchers and their students – both graduate and undergraduate – from a variety of academic institutions.  If you would like to conduct research at BBBO, contact us by email.

Kristen CovinoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA, Canisius College, Permitted Bander, NABC Trainer

Dr. Covino earned her PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Frank Moore where she studied the overlap between the breeding and migratory life-history stages in Nearctic-Neotropical songbirds. She is particularly interested in the processes that determine how and when individuals complete life-cycle events.  Currently, she holds a postdoc position at Canisius College, teaches courses at the Shoals Marine Lab, and collaborates with researchers at BBBO and elsewhere on a variety of migration-based projects.

Greg Cunningham, St. John Fisher College, Sub-permitted Bander

Dr. Cunningham and his undergraduate students study the olfactory sensitivities in a variety of birds.  At BBBO, the Cunningham lab investigates whether passerines are sensitive to a variety of scents.  The lab is also studying how the length of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA, varies across species and life history traits such as body size, age of first reproduction, and length of life.

Mark Deutschlander, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Sub-permitted Bander, NABC Trainer, Board Member

markdeutschlanderMark received his Ph.D. in Zoology in 1998 from Indiana University, where he specialized in Animal Behavior and minored in Neuroscience. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Biology at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in nearby Geneva, NY.  Mark is currently First Vice President for Wilson Ornithological Society, the second oldest and second largest scientific ornithological society in North America, and he is an Associate Editor for The Auk: Ornithological Advances.  He is also a past president and current board member for BBBO, chairing the Observatory’s research committee.  He has held a sub-permit for banding since 2002.  Mark’s research over the past 20 years focused on sensory aspects of migration and navigation, particularly the use of the earth’s magnetic field and visual cues in animal orientation.  He has conducted experiments on a wide variety of organisms including salamanders, trout, hamsters, and, of course, birds.  Mark’s research interest in birds and migration began while he was an undergraduate student with Dr. Robert Beason at S.U.N.Y. Geneseo, where Mark and Bob studied the magnetic sense of Bobolinks.  He has also studied magnetic navigation in Australian Silvereyes, as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Technology in Sydney.  At the Observatory, Mark’s orientation studies focus on sparrows, thrushes, and warblers, and he has recently expanded his research program to understand the physiological, or energetic challenges, of migration in songbirds.

aou-jenkinson-award-morris-2014Sara Morris, Canisius College, Master Bander, NABC Trainer

Dr. Morris and her students use the Mobile Avian Revording Studio (MARS trailer) to investigate the night flight calls of passerines.  Away from Braddock Bay, Dr. Morris coordinates the Environmental Science major and the Environmental Biology minor at Canisius College, manages the Appledore Island Migration Station, and is active in several ornithological organizations. 



Christopher Norment, The College at Brockport (SUNY)CN Photo small

Dr. Chris Norment is a professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York, where he specializes in the breeding biology and ecology of migratory birds. Before beginning his career in academia, Chris worked as biologist for the U.S. National Park Service, Outward Bound instructor, high school science teacher, and gumball machine repairman. Chris has published forty scientific articles and four books of creative nonfiction, most of which seek to integrate personal narrative and lyrical descriptions of the natural world with the results of scientific research: In the North of Our Lives: A Year in the Wilderness of Northern Canada; Return to Warden’s Grove: Science, Desire, and the Lives of Sparrows; In the Memory of the Map: A Cartographic Memoir; and Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction, and Conservation in a Desert World

Susan Smith Pagano, Rochester Institute of Technology, Master Bander, Board Member

SSP saw-whetSue received her sub-permit in spring of 2000 and her master permit in the spring of 2015.  As a graduate student working with Dr. Chris Norment at SUNY Brockport, she conducted research at the Kaiser-Manitou Beach research station for her Master’s thesis on migratory restlessness of fat vs. lean Swainson’s Thrushes and White-throated Sparrows. Sue received her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Rhode Island in 2007. Her dissertation research focused on the nutritional ecology of migrating songbirds on Block Island, in particular the importance of seasonal frugivory for stopover refueling performance. Sue was a postdoctoral fellow at Villanova University from 2008-2010 and initiated a new research project at BBBO in the fall of 2008 as part of her postdoctoral research. This project utilizes plasma indicators of fattening rates and diet to study the migration physiology and stopover site use of thrushes, sparrows, and other small songbirds. Sue is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Sue and her students at RIT are currently working on several projects including measuring the nutritional quality of native and invasive fruits that are consumed by migrating birds at BBBO, linking annual differences in fruit quality with migration stopover physiology, and assessing seasoning changes in chronic stress and body condition of songbirds across spring, summer, and fall seasons at BBBO.


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