Jay Pitocchelli

Professor Emeritus



Biological Sciences


1979 - B.S., Hobart College, Animal Behavior
1981 - M.S., Memorial College of Newfoundland, Psychology
1988 - Ph.D., City University of New York, Biology

My research addresses questions about the behavior and evolutionary ecology of birds.  I have worked on the taxonomy and evolution of Mourning and MacGillivray's Warblers.  I spent several summers in the Aleutian Islands studying the foraging ecology of seabirds.


My current focus is on how song differences between species of warblers have evolved. I approach this topic at two different levels. First, I study geographic variation in song among populations within a species to understand how songs vary at a given point in time.  Second, I compare songs from different time periods to determine whether songs change over time, what parts of song change, what is the rate of change and finally whether boundaries of song populations have changed over time. 

The subject species for this research are the Mourning and MacGillivray's Warblers.  I have conducted field work on the Mourning Warbler in the Appalachian Mountains, Great Lakes region, and from Newfoundland west to northern Alberta in Canada.  I have performed similar studies on the MacGillivray's Warbler in the Rocky Mountains from Arizona to northern British Columbia.  Each summer I maintain a blog describing my field work with videos and photos from these study sites.