From Scribbles to Science

Missing fieldwork already.

This always happens, usually a week of freedom after a field season I remember that being inside 24/7 isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Such is life. Office work is not my favourite part of my PhD, but it still beats waitressing (must keep remembering this).

The last two days I have spent doing something that I particularly enjoy, turning field notes into data! I picture myself mid-January: fighting with my mittens (yes I wear mittens, it makes operating sound equipment much easier), scrambling to note down everything I have just observed, which birds were involved, who did what and at what time. And then go home, thinking ‘what am I doing with my life?’, having just spent 7 hours in sub-zero temperatures alone in the middle of nowhere.

Turns out, I was doing science all along!

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I  have a nice pile of field notebooks now, sufficiently ruffled from wind, rain and covered in bird poop. Each of these volumes contains countless hours worth of work and any one of them could contain the next big bird breakthrough!



Actual chick poop covered pages.

Going through my observations of individuals. Making notes of who sang when I saw them and who didn’t…



I can create a graph from my sampling effort and give a better idea of seasonal singing patterns, rather than just me saying “I have an idea that…this is happening”. Amazing!


Missing my wellies and my birds but thesis writing calls. And it isn’t all that terrible really (remember this three months down the line).



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