Katie McGee

Katie McGee

MS Biological Sciences

Katie joined the lab and UNE in the 2022 summer, diving into grassland songbird research.  Her thesis will focus on climate change, using tracking technologies, spatial analysis and molecular tools to ask interesting questions about the past, present and future of migratory songbirds.  For the 2023 field season, Katie received a grant from the Nuttall Ornithological Club to advance her molecular work with Bobolinks, assessing relatedness.  She is a James Madison University alumni (woop woop!).

Peyton Stevens

Peyton Stevens

BS Animal Behavior and Environmental Science (2025)

Peyton, a Texas native, joined the grassland songbird research project in the 2022 summer.  She quickly became a nesting finding extraordinaire.  For the 2023 field season, Peyton received a grant from the Nuttall Ornithological Club and a SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) Fellowship to track the survival and movement of juvenile Bobolinks with the Motus netwerk. Big things to come from Peyton!

Zishi (Violet) Wu

MS Biological Sciences

Violet joined the lab in 2023 summer, studying the breeding and migration ecology of an isolated and newly established population of Bobolinks nesting on the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY.  So excited to have her on the team!  She earned her bachelors degree from the University of California Davis in the spring 2023 term.

Holly Stone

BS Environmental Science (2024)

Holly came to UNE with a deep passion for birds and joined the grassland songbird project in 2022.  Holly earned a SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) Fellowship from the College of Arts & Sciences at UNE.  She is leading a project on Bobolink migration, using nanotags (tiny tracking devices) linked to the Motus network.  We deployed tags on Shelburne Farms and 60 miles north in the Missisqoui National Wildlife Refuge–and colleagues deployed tags in SE Pennsylvania and central Maine.  Keep up with this project as the results will certainly be fascinating!

Lab Alumni

Emma White

Emma White

MS Biological Sciences

Emma White‘s thesis–An investigation into extrapair paternity and juvenile survival in Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)–explored what factors explain a Bobolink’s probability of surviving from year to year. Emma used everything we know about individual birds that return to breed where they were born, ranging from their parents genetics, to their reproductive history. Her work is the first to genotype Bobolinks. She also taught the Museum Specimen Prep class at UNE.  Emma defended her Master’s thesis on Jan 22, 2020 and both of her thesis chapters were published.

Xander Vitarelli

BS Environmental Science (2022)

Xander joined the Perlut Lab in the Spring 2020 term to lead a new wing of the grassland bird project.  His work compares Bobolink movement ecology by a small isolated population at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, NY, with our long-term study population in Shelburne, VT.  When not birding in his home woods of Central Park, NYC, Xander is a super talented photographer and cross country runner.  Xander graduated in the Spring 2022 term and flew directly to Panama to put his ornithological career in high gear and spent the 2023 summer in Montana working with grassland birds.

Maeve McGowan

BS Environmental Science, dual minors in Climate Change Studies and Political Science

Maeve McGowan uses data collected from 2002 to 2018 to explain how phenological shifts caused by climate change on the wintering grounds affected variation in nest initiation dates of Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows breeding in agricultural fields of Vermont.  See her fantastic poster from the 2019 Northeast Natural History Conference here and the manuscript we published here.

Olivia Scott

BS Environmental Science and Biology

Olivia joined the lab for the 2019 field season and is leading the dive into our Savannah Sparrow geolocator data, which details where the birds spent their non-breeding period.  Her first project–published in Avian Ecology and Conservation–explored how migration and wintering location affected breeding success.  She transitioned to exploring how reproductive effort and success changes of a individuals lifetime.  Olivia is also a seriously amazing potter!

Emma Burke

BS Environmental Studies

Emma first joined the lab for the 2019 field season and is interested in variation in male Bobolink morphology, especially in how the size of their yellow cap varies.  She used these morphometrics to see how they influence annual survival (manuscript currently in review).  Emma was also a member of the UNE gymnastics team.  She graduated in Spring 2022 and headed directly to grad school.

Kylee DiMaggio

BS Environmental Science and Marine Science

Kylee DiMaggio quantified within- and between-year divorce rates of two grassland songbird species, Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows. This work, Mixed consequences of divorce on reproductive success of songbirds nesting in agricultural hayfields, published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology, determined if divorce rates differed after haying or predation-caused nest failure and, if so, whether divorce influenced reproductive success.  See her award winning poster from the 2019 Northeast Natural History Conference here. Kylee graduated in May 2019 with a double major in Environmental Science and Marine Science.  She started her MS studies at the University of Florida in the Fall 2020 term.

Kady Winsor

BS Environmental Science, minor in Art

Kady Winsor joined the Perlut lab after her first year, working on the Biological Control of Mosquito Project in 2016.  After a travel class to Iceland, she joined the grassland bird crew in Vermont in 2018 and again in 2019.  Kady graduated in Dec 2018.