Ornithology - EBIO 4200 - 6200


Return to B. Fleury's Home Page

Lecture Syllabus
Instructor:  Dr. Bruce E. Fleury, Stern 4030 (x8290)

email: bfleury@tulane.edu
home page: http://www.tulane.edu/~bfleury/

Office Hours: Stern 4030 - Mon., Wed. & Fri. 11:15-11:45, 1:45-2:45, 4:00-4:45, or by appointment.

Class Meets: MWF from 12:00 to 12:50 - Boggs 240.
Labs and Field Trips: Labs meet on Thursday from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. in SELAB 212. Some field trips will be held on Saturday or Sunday (see lab syllabus for details). No lab will be held on Wednesdays if a weekend trip is planned for that week.
Textbooks:  Frank B. Gill, Ornithology (latest ed.). W. H. Freeman.
                       Peterson, R. T. P., A Field Guide to the Birds, Eastern Birds (latest ed.). Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin.
Course Philosophy: Birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs. They are among the most visible and active animals that we encounter in our daily lives, yet few people appreciate their marvelous adaptations or their complex behavior and life cycle. This class will introduce you to this fascinating group of animals, as well as familiarize you with the diverse habitats of southern Louisiana.
Equipment: Dissecting kit, usually available at the Tulane bookstore, and binoculars We can loan out a limited number of binoculars (Nikon Travelites), but we strongly suggest you use or purchase your own, we can help you with selecting an appropriate pair.

Exams and Grading: There will be three hour exams (no final exam). Each lecture exam (including the final exam) will count 100 points. Exams will consist of objective and short essay questions. The first lab exam, worth 50 points, covers identification and anatomy. The second lab exam will be a 50 point test of your bird identification skills in the field. Your final combined lab/lecture grade will be based on a percentage of 460 points:

Hour Exams          300     Lab Notebook     20
Lab Exam              50      Field ID Exam    50
CBC Lab Report   20       Participation      20

Final grades will be calculated as a percentage of 460 points as shown below:

A 93-100 A- 90-92    
B+ 87-89 B 83-86 B- 80-82
C+ 77-79 C 73-76 C- 70-72
D+ 67-69 D 60-66 D- 55-59

Outcomes and Assessment: This class and lab will encourage departmental majors and minors in both EEB and ENVS to become familiar with the diversity of birds, their ecological importance, and their evolutionary relationships. Lab reports will require students in both programs to demonstrate written communication skills in their lab reports and field notebooks. Conservation of birds and their habitats will be an important emphasis in both lecture and field work. Specific aims for both programs will include the following: knowledge and evaluation of the competing theories concerning the origin and early evolution of birds, particularly with regards to their relationship with dinosaurs; knowledge of the modern phylogenetic schema of birds in relation to other vertebrates; evaluation of the competing theories for the origin of avian fight; analysis and appreciation of the physics of avian flight; thorough introduction to the nature of avian behavior, including neuroanatomy and mechanisms of neurophysiology; understanding and appreciation of the complexities of avian behavior and social behavior in the context of reproduction, growth, foraging, flocking, and avian coloniality; an appreciation of the life histories of birds in relation to general life history theory; the nature and importance of avian habitat, and its preservation; and field experience that will introduce students to every important habitat type common to southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

Lectures -- Readings

Suggested readings from your text are listed below. Additional readings may be announced in class. All readings are available online through Blackboard.

I. Origin and Evolution of Birds


11   Origin of Ornithology, White, Gill 1
13   Dinosaurs and Birds, Gill 2
15   Dinosaurs and Birds, Feduccia, Dino-Aves Clades (BB)
18   MLK Holiday
20   Origin of Birds, Sloane (BB), Prum
22   Origin of Birds
25   Evolution of Flight, Padian and Chiappe (BB), Prum &Brush (BB)
27   Modern Birds, Cracraft Cladogram
29   Modern Birds, Salzman, Harris (BB)


1    Modern Birds, Salzman (BB)

II. Flight and Energetics


3     Adaptations for Flight, Gill 4 
     Adaptations for Flight, Gill 5
8     Mardi Gras
  Adaptations for Flight, Gill 5
12   Physiology, Gill 6                                            

III. Brain and Behavior


19   Bird Brains, Gill 7
22   First Lecture Exam
24   Sensory Physiology, Gill 7
26   Annual Cycles, Migration, Gill 9,10, Molt Sequence (BB)
29   Orientation, Navigation, Gill 10


2    Vocal Communication, Gill
4    Vocal Communication
7    Territoriality, Gill 11
9    Territoriality
11   Foraging Behavior Gill 20
14   Flocking, Coloniality 1, Gill 11
Flocking, Coloniality 2, Gill 11
18   Second Lecture Exam
21-28  Spring Break

IV. Mating and Reproduction


Mating Systems, Gill 12, Emlen & Oring (BB)


1     Mating Systems, Bowerbirds, Gill 13, Borgia (BB)
4     Reproduction - Nests and Eggs, Gill 14, 15
6     Reproduction - Development
8     Reproduction - Parental Care, Gill 16
  Reproduction - Parental Care
13   Reproduction - Parental Care
15   Brood Parasites, Helpers
Brood Reduction, Cainism , Stenning, Mock (BB)
20   Life Histories 1, Gill 17, Martin (two papers on BB)
22   Life Histories 2
25  Third Lecture Exam

Ornithology Lab

Lab Instructor: Samantha Lantz

Contact Info: slantz@tulane.edu

Lab Meets: 1:00-5:00 PM Thursday in SELAB 212; field trips meet in front of Reilly at the shuttle bus stop, departing at 1:00 PM unless otherwise specified. Labs are scheduled until 5 PM, and will often go the full period. Because of the vagaries of suburban traffic etc. we may occasionally return from the field shortly after 5 PM.

Equipment: Dissection kits must be purchased from the bookstore for the labs on avian anatomy. Dissections will be done in pairs. Work carefully, and be sure each lab partner gets an equal opportunity to dissect. You will need to obtain a good pair of binoculars. We can advise you on this purchase, and loan you a pair to use until you get your own. You should subscribe to the Louisiana birding listserve at LSU. Go to http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/LABIRDintro.html for details. This email listserve often contains useful information on who is seeing what in and around the state, as well as alerting you to rare or unusual species in our vicointy.
Field Trips

There will be several field trips during the semester. Two of these field trips will be held on Saturday: Grand Isle, and Dauphin Island. Please mark your calendars well in advance. No lab will be held on Thursday if a weekend trip is scheduled for the following Saturday. I hate getting up early on Saturday as much as you do, but by mid-afternoon, birds are quieter, higher up in the trees, and much harder to observe. These trips are an essential part of the class, and will introduce you to a wide variety of local habitats. During the Grand Isle field trip, you will be tested on your ability to identify birds in the field.

Field trips will meet in the bus shelter near the front of Reilly Center, unless otherwise notified. All field trips will depart on time. You should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before departure for attendance etc... Please dress appropriately. Short pants, sandals, or open-toed shoes are a very bad idea, due to the primitive trails, mud, poison ivy, and biting bugs we may encounter. You may wish to pack a lunch or snack, and bring a thermos of coffee or cold water. Attendance at labs and field trips is mandatory. Each unexcused absence from labs or field trips will result in ten points being deducted from your final grade. If you miss three labs or more, you will be dropped from the course.

You will be required to keep a detailed lab notebook of your observations, including birds seen on field trips (when/where/habitat etc..). Composition style notebooks are available in the bookstore. These notebooks will be handed in at mid-semester for preliminary review. Lab reports will take the form of a short scientific paper. Further details on format and length of reports, and instructions on organizing and maintaining your lab notebook, will be supplied in lab.

Lab Schedule


21   Intro, binoculars, Audubon
28  75 common birds of Louisiana, Audubon Park

4     Avian Anatomy - External
11   Avian Anatomy - Internal
18   Urban birds I (Bayou Sauvage, City Park etc.)
25   Lab Exam -- Anatomy and Identification


3     Audubon Zoo
10   CBC Data Lab** (meets in SE212, bring your laptop!!)
17   Urban birds II (Bayou Sauvage, City Park etc.)
Spring Break
31   Honey Island or Dauphin Island (April 2d, 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM)


7    Honey Island or Dauphin Island (April 9th, 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM)
  Grand Isle (Sun. April 17 - 6:30 AM - 7 PM) -- Final lab exam
21   Saturday 23 rain make up day for Grand Isle

** Lab write ups for the CBC lab will be due in class April 3d. Field notebooks will be due no later than the last day of class. Reports or notebooks submitted after that day will be penalized 5 points per day late.

Back to Top

Ornithology on the Internet
UC Berkeley Flight exhibit
Birds - the Tree of Life
BIRDNET: Ornithological Societies Home Pages
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Optics for Birding Home Page
Peterson Online
The Colonial Waterbird Society
Birding on the Net
The Sibley-Monroe List of the Worlds Birds
All About Birds, Birdwatching, and Birding
How to identify birds by song (video series)
Wild birds - attracting, feeding and watching
North American Bird Songs
UGA Southeastern Birds Photo Archive
BirdSource- Birding
American Birding Association
Alphabetical List of Birds of the World
Animal Pictures Archive
Patuxent Bird Population Studies

Birds and Birding in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast

Southern Louisiana Birding Locations (New Orleans/Grand Isle)
Southwestern LA Birding Guide (Cameron etc.)
Birding in the New Orleans Area
Common Birds of Louisiana
Louisiana Birds Checklist
Bird Louisiana
Audubon Society in Louisiana
Orleans Audubon Society
Dan Purrington's Annotated Checklist of LA Birds
Dan Purrington's Gulf Coast Bird Links
Dauphin Island Birding
Louisiana Seabirds and Whales
Photo Gallery of Southeastern US Birds
Louisiana Ornithological Society
Big Branch NWR
North Shore Bird Club
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries
GORP - Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Sabine NWR
Cameron Prairie NWR
Galveston Bay Birds
Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge - NWR
National Wildlife Refuge System
Louisiana Nature Conservancy
PARKNET:The National Park Service Place on the Web
US National Wildlife Refuges (GORP Menu)

Weather for Birding

CNN - Weather
Welcome to The Weather Underground, Inc.
The Weather Channel - Home Page
WeatherNet: WeatherSites
NWS - New Orleans/Baton Rouge Forecast Office
Weather Forecasts
Intellicast Weather
NOAA Forecast Menu for Louisiana
Louisiana IWIN Weather Data

Resources for CBC Data Lab

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Home Page
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) Home Page
Cornell Library of Natural Sounds
Bird Population Data
Birds of North America Project Home Page
Institute for Bird Populations IBP
Buteo Books BNA Articles Available
Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds
USGS Northern Prairie Biological Resources
Birds in Forested Landscapes
Cornell Citizen Scientist Program
Fish & Wildlife Endangered Species Program
Partners in Flight
USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The Raptor Center
Audubon Society Home Page
Purple Martin Conservation Association
USGS Biomonitoring Program

Search Engines

Back to Top
Info for Wild Bird Rehabilitation

International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
(magazine on rehabilitation, information on training, publications)
National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
Louisiana Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
(training workshop information is sometimes posted here, find local rehabilitators)
In order to become a wildlife rehabilitator of mammals and/or reptiles in Louisiana, you must obtain a wildlife rehabilitatorís permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).  In order to rehabilitate native wild birds, you must first obtain a federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then a state permit from the LDWF.
For an application to become a federally permitted wild bird rehabilitator write to:
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P. O. Box 49208, Atlanta, GA  30359
(404) 679-7070
For an application to become a licensed wild animal rehabilitator in the State of Louisiana, write to:
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, P. O. Box 9800, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000
Falconry Information
In order to become a falconer you must obtain a joint state and federal falconry permit, a Game Breederís permit from the LDWF and must possess a valid hunting license from LDWF.  In order to obtain a license you must pass the falconry exam, build facilities and have them inspected by a wildlife officer, and obtain a sponsor (licensed falconer).
Stephen Sorensen, Falconry Coordinator, Wildlife Division
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
E-mail:  Sorensen_SG@wlf.state.la.us
Office:  (225) 765-2374
(Mr. Sorensen will send a copy of the state and federal falconry regulations.)
For a federal falconry permit application write to:
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P. O. Box 49208, Atlanta, GA  30359
(404) 679-7070
North American Falconers Association www.n-a-f-a.org

Thanks to Jennifer Coulson for this info!!

Back to Top

Return to B. Fleury's Home Page

This page was last updated on 1/22/16