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Research Interests

My main research interests are in avian brood parasitism, which is a reproductive strategy where females lay their eggs in other birdsí nests and leave all parental care to these hosts.  Raising parasitic young results in a reduction of the hostís own fitness, which places strong selection pressure on hosts to evolve defenses, such as egg rejection behavior, against brood parasitism.  Specifically, I am focused on the interactions between the parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) and its hosts.  Questions I am interested in include:  how do some hosts recognize and reject foreign eggs, what is the cost of parasitism, and why do many hosts not show any rejection behavior despite the high cost of parasitism? 

 My secondary research interests include avian conservation and ecology.  I continue to work on projects such as the impact of exotic species on native fauna, conservation of Neotropical migratory birds, the effectiveness of nest boxes to enhance local populations of cavity nesters, and small scale local natural history projects that facilitate interaction with the public.