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Chasing the Mourning Warbler

October 22, 2010

Story by Greg Wallace '10

This is the  first of two podcasts with Professor Jay Pitocchelli. In the second podcast, he discusses the four song and geographic regions of the Mourning Warbler.


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Mourning WarblerWhen nature shows the first signs of impending summer, migratory birds that have wintered in southern habitats begin growing fidgety and restless for the biannual journey northward. In his Goulet Science Center office, with a window overlooking the quad, biology professor Jay Pitocchelli experiences a similar sensation.

Saint Anselm College’s resident ornithologist packed his jeep this spring to continue his research on song variation in the Mourning Warbler. Pitocchelli, the preeminent expert on this olive-green and yellow warbler, named for its black bib and grey hood, has identified four regions with specific variations on the species’ song. This summer alone, he has observed and tracked the Mourning Warbler in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

While he drives the estimated 4,000 miles by himself, he keeps students, colleagues, and family updated on his blog, www.anselm.edu/mourningwarblerblog. He also posts audio, digital video, and photos of flora and fauna.

In this podcast, we asked him about his research, use of technology, and the art of bringing the two together in pursuit of science.