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Listen here to Episode 2: "Little Droplets of Sunshine"
Vanya Rowher, Master's student at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, holding a yellow warbler nest from Churchill, Manitoba.

Episode 2: "Little Droplets of Sunshine"

Vanya is interested in yellow warblers, his "little droplets of sunshine." More specifically, he is interested in their nests and their nest building behaviour. He is studying yellow warbler nests in two different locations, in northern Manitoba and in southern Ontario, and the nests in these two locations are completely different!

The nests in the north are big, fluffy mansions and the nests in the south are small, twiggy shacks. The features that make the two nests different (big vs small, fluffy vs twiggy) is the difference in nest morphology.

And the big question is, why are they so different? To get the answer, Vanya has performed a transplant experiment, swapping northern nests for southern nests and seeing what happens to chick survival and behaviour. For more, I guess you will just have to listen to the episode!

For more info you can read Vanya's article in Picoides: The Bulletin of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists or you can go to Vanya's lab website or his blog post or visit allaboutbirds.org. For more pictures, you can also check out Facebook!

(Thanks to Lang Elliot for audio of the yellow warbler's call)

A yellow warbler hatchling in a big, fluffy nest from Churchill, Manitoba. Why is the nest so big and fluffy?
A nest from Churchill on the left and a nest from southern Ontario on the right - Vanya swaps these out in the tree - How do the birds respond to a different nest?
This is a female yellow warbler on her nest in Churchill. Why does she make the nest look like this?

Avioyak - the buzzing in ears - from Churchill, Manitoba.
My fourth year research thesis in Knowledge Integration, Centre for Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo.
2012 © Kaleigh Eichel
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Dr. LeeAnn Fishback, Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Dr. Ed Jernigan, Centre for Knowledge Integration, University of Waterloo