My love of wildlife and wild places stems from a childhood
filled with camping, hiking, and studying nature up close in the Sierra Nevada.
I'm very excited to be pursuing a masters degree here at Humboldt State. For
my thesis, I'm studying the nesting biology of tricolored blackbirds in the San
Joaquin Valley. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent annually to protect
colonies of tricolored blackbirds nesting in agricultural fields. The relative
nesting success of birds breeding in these fields has not been determined,
however, and it is possible that tricolored blackbirds experience higher rates
of nest survival in native marsh vegetation than in ag fields. If this is the
case, conservation efforts might be better directed toward enhancing and
expanding marsh habitat to encourage colonies to establish there. My study will
evaluate the survival rates of tricolored blackbird nests in agricultural
fields versus wetland habitats.