Advanced Field Ornithology at Cornell
The ornithology programs available to undergraduates at Cornell University are already excellent. We have opportunities to take classes about the biology of birds and certain field research techniques. There are even several field ornithology classes that can help us get experience in the field. However, nearly all of the field ornithology classes at Cornell take place during the summer or winter breaks, which limits which students are able to take these classes. Those who are busy with work or other conflicts during breaks may never have the opportunity to take them. With such a strong undergraduate cohort of students interested in ornithology, we have enough potentially interested students to suggest an advanced field ornithology class which would take place during the spring semesters. This type of class could help us go beyond the level of the other classes already offered at Cornell and not only teach field skills, but also how to take an idea for a research question and turn it into something that can feasibly be done in the field. This class could take place as a series of seminars during the spring semester and could involve a trip over Spring Break to allow students to get into the field, perhaps in an exotic and unfamiliar place where field research would be extremely challenging and extremely rewarding.