What makes the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus Polyglottos) an urban "winner"?

A Ph.D. research project by Christine Stracey

Research Assistants

Christine Stracey

Christine Stracey
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Florida
I received my Bachelor's degree in Biology from the College of NJ and got my Master's in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. I am now working on my Ph.D. in the Biology Department at the University of Florida. When I finish, I would like to work at a smaller liberal arts college where I can incorporate research and undergraduate education. Visit my homepage for more info.

Steve Daniels

Steve Daniels
Steve, a.k.a. Stavros, is our field veteran from the forests of Southern Illinios. Stavros has a degree in Animal Biology from the University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana. He does nest searching and monitoring at our non-urban sites.

Tim Richard
Tim helps out in the summer (when he's not teaching Physical Education in elementary and middle school) with searching and monitoring in parking lots and residential areas. He is also a member of our banding team.

Michelle Feole

Michelle Feole
Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering Department

Michelle is following up on the mockingbird song project and is examining how mockingbirds mimic species in urban and non-urban habitats. She is participating in the UF-Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded G.A.T.O.R. mentoring program.

Brady Wynn

Brady Wynn
Undergraduate, Biology Department

Brady is studying the effects of light pollution on mockingbird feeding behavior. He is participating in the UF-Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded G.A.T.O.R. mentoring program.

Crew Alumni

Randall Anderson

Randall Anderson
Graduated 2009, Biology Department

Randall helped us out last year with every aspect of the research. His own project involved the development of lesson plans for high school biology classes that incorporated his research experience with us and the use of our nest monitoring cameras. Randall is starting a Master's of Education program at Texas Tech this fall.

Rachel Hanauer

Rachel Hanauer
Graduated 2009, Wildlife Department

Rachel worked in the non-urban sites last year running our nest cameras and searching/monitoring nests. She did her senior thesis examining how land-use changes in Florida correlate with changes in mockingbird abundance using GIS and Breeding Bird Survey data. She is currently working in Peru with Gustavo Londono and will be applying for grad schools when she returns.

Laura Levin
Graduated 2007, Wildlife Department

Laura was in charge of searching and monitoring nests at Audubon Park and the Oaks Mall in 2007 and 2008. She currently works at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Puja Patel

Puja Patel
Graduated 2009, Microbiology Department

Puja recorded mockingbird songs in urban and non-urban habitats last spring and summer as part of the Undergraduate Scholars Program at UF. Her data showed that urban mockingbirds sing at a higher pitch than non-urban mockingbirds. She is starting dental school at UCLA this fall.


Kim Marshall

Graduated 2009, Industrial Engineering Department

Kim worked on an independent study project examining the effects of light pollution on the onset of breeding in mockingbirds. She documented when the birds start singing, nest building, and laying their eggs in relation to the amount of light pollution on their territory. She is now working at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Ariane Le Gros Ariane Le Gros
Master's Student, Paris AgroTech University

Ariane was an intern from France in our lab last summer and fall. She investigated how rates of parasitism by the botfly Philornis porteri changed along the urban gradient and the effects of parasitism on mockingbirds. Botflies lay their eggs in the nest of mockingbirds and other bird species. The eggs hatch and the larvae burrow under the skin of the nestlings and feed on their tissues.
Judit Ungvari-Martin
Graduated 2007, Zoology and Wildlife Department

Judit is the newest graduate student in our lab this year. She helped out in our lab the last three summer and worked on her own project on clutch size, hatchling success, and juvenile survival on mockingbirds on campus with Gustavo Londono. Judit went to Peru to help Gustavo and Jill Jankowski study birds. Her own graduate research is on Peruvian birds.
Jane Bauer

Jane received her bachelor's in Psychology from Tulane University. She conducted the predator presentation experiment with our model crow in 2007. She is now working as a dolphin trainer in Miami.
Jessica Maciel
Graduated 2007, Zoology Department

Jessica is now a middle school teacher at Einstein Montessori School. Jessica and I developed a series of 7th grade lesson plans that incorporated bird research that we tested at Einstein. This gave me a chance to interact with middle school students and gave Jessica a chance to use a "real" research project in the classroom. She also helped me out with my field work to gain a greater appreciation of what researchers spend all their time doing.
Amelia Savage
Graduated 2006, Zoology Department

Amelia is now working on her Master's at NC State where she is studying Swainson's Warblers. She helped out with banding, nest searching and monitoring, and conducting nest observations in 2006.
Rebecca Sandidge
Graduated 2006, Wildlife Department

Rebecca is currently a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley studying ants. She helped out with banding and nest searching and monitoring in 2006.