I got the chance to sit down with Suzanne Hartley, a graduate student at North Carolina State University. Suzanne researches how to help Bluebirds in their surprisingly violent turf war with House Sparrows, and how we can use this war to learn about environmental toxins like pesticides or other chemicals. Bluebirds are a beautiful, native species in North America, but they are constantly harassed by House Sparrows, an invasive species from Europe. Listen in to learn about Bluebird defenders, called Bluebirders, and what they are doing change the balance. Read below to learn more about the study or even get involved:
Suzanne is a a masters student in Fisheries Wildlife and Conservation Biology at NC State. She currently manages Sparrow Swap, a citizen science project that tests different house sparrow management strategies and investigates the use of house sparrow eggs for mapping environmental contaminants. You can see the project in action behind the glass of the Biodiversity lab at NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
Suzanne’s Research Project Sparrow Swap
General bird information from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
SciStarter to find citizen science projects including Sparrow Swap
NestWatch monitoring program and database of nesting bird species
Sialis website for more background on bluebirds
This episode was recorded at ComSciCon Triangle, the convention for science communicators in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Special thanks to RTI international for hosting us! Follow ComSciCon on Twitter and check out this recently-published journal article on science communication training penned by two (former and current) committee members.