In this episode, we explored Sylvia’s background with plants, animal behavior, ornithology, and her path to becoming a field biologist, and then a full-time professor at Central Connecticut State University. We talked about her interest in birds, their vocalizations, and then about her study of and thoughts about Crow Roosts in the extended Hartford area.
In this fascinating conversation, Sylvia shared about her early fascination with animal and plant behaviors, and her initial interest in birds and birding. She shared details about her academic work from undergraduate days in Cambridge, MA to receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She shared how she became interested in animal behavior, ornithology, biology, and ecology. She went into details on her interest in how birds use their vocal repertoires, and background on her excellent guide about recording and analyzing bird vocalizations. Finally, she opened up about her fascination with winter crow roosts and her continuing involvement in counting crows as part of the local Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Sylvia Halkin, Professor of Biology at Central Connecticut State University, is a field biologist whose research has mainly focused on animal behavior. She has studied how birds use their vocal repertoires in communication, winter ground-roosting behavior of American Crows, and the surprising diversity of ways in which Eastern Gray Squirrels protect the nuts they find and store from being taken by competitors. She has also published articles with CCSU undergraduate and Masters students on the relationship between strangler figs and their host trees, avian foraging niche separation, and sources of disturbance at tern nesting colonies, and is a co-author of the Birds of the World species account for Northern Cardinals, a comprehensive review of the published scientific research on this well-known species. She has taught courses in ornithology, animal behavior, introductory biology, and ecology, including field biology courses in interdisciplinary course abroad programs in Ireland, England, Australia, and India.
Craig Gibson is a bird conservation photographer. His current focus is on expanding awareness about the Winter Crow Roost located in Lawrence, MA. Craig has well over 325 documented observation nights tracking and documenting this crow roost. He leads many group tours and has made numerous presentations and talks. Craig designed and launched a blog and this podcast about the Winter Crow Roost and continues to oversee all editorial content. He has also been the lead on initiating and coordinating a range of activities and events with local arts, education, and community groups as well as working with a growing number of conservation and environmental organizations. He wrote and published a comprehensive 14-page report to recap the 2018-2019 winter season, a comprehensive guide about roost photography at night and a new guide on methods for counting crows in a winter roost. His efforts have raised much greater awareness about the Winter Crow Roost in Lawrence, MA, and he has been a catalyst for a range of new community science initiatives.