Meet this Year’s Golden-winged Warbler Research Team!

Audubon North Carolina is pleased to introduce our field technicians for this year’s continuing research on Golden-winged Warblers and the effects of management on their productivity and habitat requirements.  These positions are funded through a Conservation Effects Assessment Project Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Audubon North Carolina is pleased to be partnered with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, West Virginia University, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville for this work.

Clifton Avery

A junior in college at Appalachian State, Clifton is majoring in Ecology/Evolutionary Biology. In the last few years, Clifton has fallen in love with the field of ornithology and has a had a number of field experiences studying birds. His most recent was in the fall of 2012 when he went to Peru and studied andean birds in Manu National Park. Clifton worked for the Manu Project studying elevation ranges of different species and investigating their adaptability to climate change. Clifton is really looking forward to working as a part of a major conservation project that is attempting to understand a fragile species that has had a major population decrease in the last 50 years. Clifton is also a former college basketball player and loves to hike, play basketball, and play music in his free time.

Valerie Bruchon

After earning a BA in Photography from UNC-Chapel Hill, Valerie spent several years working in conservation photography in Montana, then returned to North Carolina to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree.  In May 2013, she will complete her BS in Environmental Biology from Appalachian State with several honors. For the past two summers, she has worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, gathering data on wetland mammals, odonates, moths, and reptiles for conservation purposes.  In the near future, Valerie hopes to begin a Masters program that studies the interface between climate science, landscape-scale ecology, and conservation.  This summer, she looks forward to working with the Audubon Society to increase science’s understanding of sensitive species. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, trivia, cooking, and playing the guitar, and soaking in the High Country’s splendor through trail-running and hiking.

Anna Tisdale

Anna earned her Bachelor’s in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she knew her interests were in the natural sciences, especially ecology. She didn’t, however, start working with birds until a study abroad trip her senior year to Panama with Dr. Lesley Bulluck to study Prothonotary Warblers in their wintering grounds. From then on, Anna focused on avian ecology in various field jobs. She will now be attempting her Master’s in Biology at Appalachian State University under the advisement of Dr. Lynn Siefferman. Anna is looking forward to being a part of the Golden-Winged Warbler conservation movement through the North Carolina Audubon Society, and hopes to see positive trends in the species for the coming years she will be working with them. As a rock climber, former Montessori science teacher, and someone who is outdoors more than in, Anna hopes to teach her community about the different conservation efforts happening in the area.

John Jones

Earning his Bachelor’s in Ecology/Evolution in May 2013, John’s primary interests are in avian behavioral ecology. Under the advisement of Dr. Lynn Siefferman of Appalachian State University, John spent this previous late winter through early spring examining behavioral characteristics of Eastern bluebirds, such as aggression, competition and nest box preference. This is John’s first conservation based project, but he is still interested in investigating the behavior of Golden-Winged Warblers. John will be attending Appalachian State University in the Fall to earn his Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As someone who is an avid runner and loves to hike and bird watch across the High Country, he looks forward to this summer in the field and making note of the different personalities these birds exhibit.

Zach West

Zach attended UNC-Wilmington and graduated with degrees in Environmental Science and Geography. He is currently a graduate student at Appalachian State and pursuing his master’s degree in Geography. Zach has field experience in forestry management and is looking forward to learning more about avian ecology and conservation this summer. His fellow teammates have quickly turned him into a bird lover and Zach is eager to learn from everyone that is collaborating on this project. Zach enjoys being outside and hiking. He is excited to be working in an environment that allows him to do those while contributing to this significant conservation project.

Mark Hopey

Mark is returning for his second year of Golden-winged Warbler banding and study on the Roan massif for us.  A Master Bander, Mark founded and runs Southern Appalachian Raptor Research as well as coordinates efforts at the Big Bald Banding Station in the Unaka Mountains, as well as many other ornithological research projects.  We are glad to have Mark’s amazing banding experience on our team again this year!

This news announcement was produced by Audubon North Carolina.