UW-Green Bay Cliff Swallow Study

Davis, Cliff Swallow ResearchUW-Green Bay junior Meagan Davis studies the cliff swallow population here on campus. She is continuing the work started more than a decade ago by her parents, Prof. Greg Davis and Jennifer Davis.

UW-Green Bay junior Meagan Davis is studying cliff swallows on campus, a project started by her parents, Prof. Greg Davis and Jennifer Davis, more than a decade ago.The small birds are a common sight around almost all buildings on campus.

Meagan Davis

I’m researching the cliff swallows here on campus, and their behaviors both on campus and in the arboretum here. I’m researching where they feed, where they nest, where they collect the mud for their nests and their interactions with both their own species and with other species, including the house sparrows and humans around campus.I want to learn exactly where they feed, when they feed and how often they feed.I got it started because my parents have been researching the cliff swallows on campus for around 10 years now; so I grew up doing that with them.

Jennifer Davis

It makes it a little easier for her because then she can say, ‘I have a question about this.’ But it also is getting us back into it too because we had done it for a certain number of years and we really weren’t doing it as much any more.

Prof. Greg Davis

We started the project probably around ’95 (1995), or maybe a little past that. What happened is, there were a lot of dead birds lying around on the ground and we didn’t know what was going on. We found out that what it was, was an interaction between some birds known as house sparrows—which are pretty common around the city—and cliff swallows, which live here on campus. They build nice little mud nests on the building.What we were finding was that the sparrows were actually kicking out the infant cliff swallows, and taking over the nests of the cliff swallows. We’ve been trying to understand and study that interaction between those two species, and another species, the house finch, for about 10 years now.

Meagan Davis

I started this specific project in May, but ever since my parents have been doing it, I’ve been following them around doing it with them.I love doing this. I love finding out everything there is to find out about the cliff swallows.

Meagan’s study is being supported by a research grant from the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity on the UW-Green Bay Campus.

For more information visit the Web site:http://www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity

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