Brooke Goodman

Summer 2020 to 2022
Comparing song repertoires in urban vs. rural Northern Cardinals

Major: Zoology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Baldassarre

Watch our Interview with Brooke

What is the focus of your research and why is it important?

The focus of my research is how anthropogenic noise (a.k.a. human caused noise pollution) affects the singing behavior of Northern Cardinals. The impacts of human noise pollution must be studied in order to mitigate possible negative effects in the future, and action can only be inspired by evidence. Collecting this data is one way to raise awareness about noise pollution, an often overlooked topic!

I also helped Dr. Baldassarre look for cardinal nests and catch and band cardinals while collecting data for my project!

What results have you discovered?

My (very) preliminary results have yielded a male at RCFS singing around 7 songs and a male at Barry Park, Syracuse (our other field site) singing 12 songs. I've definitely got a lot more analysis to do!

What have you learned about conducting research?

One important thing I have learned is that you have to be patient with your results. Many days I would struggle to find the cardinals in RCFS and feel unproductive. What I learned was that every day I was able to pick up some new information about a bird's behavior, I was one step closer to finding its nest! No days are a waste.

Describe a memorable research experience at Rice Creek Field Station.

I really enjoyed watching the cardinal nestlings grow to fledglings who were learning how to make it on their own! I was always rooting for the nests to be successful, so seeing the birds you've been watching since they were just days old learn independence is amazing.

I also enjoyed learning much more about the other animals that called RCFS their home. I became very interested in the thousands of snails I'd see every day. I cannot overstate how many snails there were. My camera roll is full of interesting snail pictures!

Where did you grow up and how did you become interested in science?

I grew up in Goshen, New York. I have always liked birds, but didn't know much about them until I got an internship with my local Audubon Society! They introduced me to conservation and citizen science programs like the Christmas Bird Count and Climate Watch, where I got a lot more interested in scientific research!

What are your plans for the future?

I will be graduating in 2023 with my bachelor's in Zoology and minor in Statistics, and I am still deciding which of those two paths I'd like to pursue in grad school! I will definitely be taking a gap year(s) to do some ornithology work.