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Research with CES

At CES, our undergraduate students participate in hands-on research, learning new skills, impacting real-world problems, and making connections with other researchers in the field.


Grasslands Research

Hannah McCarthy '23, Environmental Studies major, was one of three students who studied the breeding biology of Field Sparrows in the experimental grasslands at the River and Field Campus this past summer. These students are investigating whether older more experienced sparrows make “better” parents than first time breeders. Summer field experiences like these allow students to collect actual data used for scientific analysis, building skills that will serve them well should they pursue a career in field biology.


Migration Monitoring

Sara Canas ’23, a double major in Biology and Environmental Science, is a part of the Eirik A. T. Blom Internship program, in which student interns assist in monitoring spring and fall migrations at WC's Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO). There, students learn to identify and handle wild birds under the guidance of federally-licensed staff, untangling birds from mist nets, measuring birds, and recording data. Interns gain insight into the uses of bird banding data, which is collected for use not only at FBBO,  but also at USGS' Bird Banding Laboratory, where the data is made available to all researchers.


Bird-Safe Glass Testing

Libby Witham ’23, a double major in Biology and Environmental Science, interns with CES' Bird-Safe Glass Testing Program. In partnership with American Bird Conservancy, WC runs an official test site for the American Bird Conservancy, hosting one of only two tunnels designed to approve products that will reduce glass collisions, a leading cause of bird death worldwide. In just the first season, the College ran over 2,500 test flights and sent critical data back to ABC that helped gain approval for 10 new bird-friendly glass designs, which are in use by manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world.




Carr, J.M., M.E. Gimpel and D.M. Small. 2019. Patterns of provisioning in known-aged Spizella pusilla (Field Sparrow): A multi-year study. Northeastern Naturalist. 26(3): 484-498.

Brinkerhoff, R.J., L. Dang, H.M. Streby, M.E. Gimpel. 2019 Life history characteristics of birds influence patterns of tick parasitism. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology 9(1).

Gimpel, M. E. and J. M. Carr.  2017. First known case of a passerine presumably returning a dead chick to the nest. Maryland Birdlife 66(2): 29-35.

Small, D.M., M.E. Gimpel and J. Gruber. 2015. Preformative molt in Indigo Buntings north of the wintering grounds.  North American Bird Bander 40(2): 67-69.

Gimpel, M.E., D. M. Small and J. G. Gruber.  2014.  Winter site fidelity of six sparrow species in Maryland.  North American Bird Bander 39(2): 45-51.

Florin, David A., R. J. Brinkerhoff, Holly Gaff, Ju Jiang, Richard G. Robbins, William Eickmeyer, James Butler, David Nielsen, Chelsea Wright, Alexis White, Maren E. Gimpel & Allen L. Richards. 2014. Additional U.S. collections of the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum (Acari: Ixodidae), from the State of Delaware, the first reported field collections of adult specimens from the State of Maryland, and data regarding this tick from surveillance of migratory songbirds in Maryland. Systematic & Applied Acarology 19(3): 257–262.

Small, D. M., M. E. Gimpel, J. G. Gruber.  2013.  Variation and Extent of Eccentric Pre-formative Wing Molt in Field Sparrows.  North American Bird Bander 38(2): 49-54.

Small, D. M., M. E. Gimpel, D. E. Gill. 2012. Site Fidelity and Natal Philopatry in  Dickcissels. Northeastern Naturalist 19(1): 123-129.

Gimpel, M. E., D. M. Small, J. G. Gruber. 2010. Site Fidelity and a Longevity Record of Wintering Hermit Thrushes in Maryland. North American Bird Bander 35(2): 1-4.

Small, D. M., M. E. Gimpel, J. Parks, J. B. Guerard, D. E. Gill. 2009. First Documented Cases of Polygyny in the Grasshopper Sparrow. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(4): 822-825.

Small, D. M., M. E. Gimpel, J. Gruber. 2007. Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) Longevity Record. North American Bird Bander 32(2): 78. 

Small, D. M. and C. R. Long. 2019. Near Catastrophe to Recovery: A Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) Success Story in Maryland. Maryland Birdlife 68: 23-37.

Danner, J. E., D. M. Small, T. B. Ryder, B. Lohr, B. S. Masters, D. E. Gill, and R. C. Fleisher. 2018. Temporal Patterns of Extra-Pair Paternity in a Population of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) in Maryland. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130: 40-51.

Small, D. M. 2017. Winter Site Fidelity and Over-Wintering Site Persistence of a Northern Shrike, Lanius borealis, in Maryland. Maryland Birdlife 66: 9-19.

Small, D. M., P. J. Blank and B. Lohr. 2015. Habitat Use and Movement Patterns by Dependent and Independent Juvenile Grasshopper Sparrows during the Post-Fledging Period. Journal of Field Ornithology 86: 17-26.

Anthony, T., D. E. Gill, D. M. Small, J. Parks, H. F. Sears. 2013. Post-fledging Dispersal of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) on a Restored Grassland in Maryland. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology: 125: 307-313.