Theodore Eyster, 2013, Civil and Environmental Engineering

I spent nine weeks as an intern in northeast Poland with the Polish Society for the ­Protection of Birds in Biebrza National Park. I was part of a team gathering data on the Aquatic ­warbler (acrocephalus paludicola), Europe’s rarest perching bird ­(passerine). I spent my time wading through study plots in the marshes and fen mires of the region ­counting the singing males and looking for nests. We gathered information about ­breeding ­population densities of the bird on sections of marsh with different ­management ­treatments. The treatments were mostly concerned with the frequency of mowing to prevent ­succession, the process that turns the marshes to forests. After finding nests by watching individual birds for long periods of time, we used GPS technology to mark nest locations. At the conclusion of the project, we compiled an excel file with the clutch sizes, treatment, and success rates, in addition to a MapSource map showing the location of each nest. The collected data will ultimately be used to determine the best way to manage the habitat for the success of the aquatic warbler.