News, Student Organization

Society studies, watches campus’ feathered friends

Junior Rebecca Eager, Junior Eric Friedman, Senior Evan Maisel, and Junior Levi Propst, who is the President and Co-Founder of the UM Amateur Ornithological Society, survey the UM campus for birds durning their bi-weekly walk on Wednesday afternoon. Nick Gangemi // Assistant Photo Editor

Junior Rebecca Eager, Junior Eric Friedman, Senior Evan Maisel, and Junior Levi Propst, the President and Co-Founder of the UM Amateur Ornithological Society, survey the UM campus for birds durning their bi-weekly walk on Wednesday afternoon. Nick Gangemi // Assistant Photo Editor

Sebastian the Ibis is no longer the big bird on campus.

With the creation of a university birdwatching club this semester, all of University of Miami’s feathered inhabitants are getting a share of the spotlight.

The UM Amateur Ornithological Society traverses the university grounds twice a week, observing and identifying the many types of birds they find. The club meets at 7 a.m. on Mondays and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in front of the Student Activities Center (SAC) .

“We are blessed with a great birding environment,” said junior Eric Friedman, the club’s treasurer and co-founder.

The amateur ornithologists are able to watch a variety of species due to the university’s mix of land and water habitats.

Common birds seen around the lake include white-faced American coots, a variety of herons and the iconic white ibis. In the trees, students are most likely to encounter boat-tailed grackles and black and brown birds that are often mistaken for crows.

Hummingbirds, blue jays and cardinals can all be found in the arboretum, which is one of the best bird watching spots on campus.

Club members identify these species and more as they walk throughout campus with their binoculars in hand. Some of their more interesting sightings are various birds of prey such as red-shouldered hawks, ospreys and kestrels.

Club co-founders Levi Propst, who serves as the club’s president, and Friedman created the club as a way for bird enthusiasts of all levels to meet and learn from one another. Though the club is quite small at the moment, its members are a varied group with a wide variety of experience.

Sophomore Kyle David, a marine biology major, is an active member of the club and attends many of the Monday morning walks. Before joining the club, however, he had never bird watched.

“I had no prior experience, but I’m really into animals in general and it seemed like a very good opportunity to experience a natural aspect of Florida,” David said.

Propst and Freidman weren’t always avid bird watchers themselves. Freidman’s interest began after taking an ecosystem science and policy course his freshman year that required students to record the birds they saw on their walk to class. He enlisted Propst’s help, and the two ended up continuing to bird watch once the assignment was over.

“I realized it was a lot more interesting than I thought it was,” Propst said. “Once you can start looking at something and say the name of it, that’s when you get really into it.”

Neither Propst nor Freidman plan on making a career out of ornithology; Propst is an electrical engineering major and Freidman a geology major. Still, both see bird watching as a lifelong hobby that could appeal to many students on campus.

“Anybody who like animals, the outdoors, or learning new things will enjoy the club,” Freidman said.

The birdwatching group, however, does not solely bird watch.  In addition to planning some off-campus birding trips, including a recent trip to Crandon Park, the club wants to install bird feeders and nest boxes across the campus.

“We want to make campus a more bird-friendly environment,” Propst said.

Professor Donald Olson, the faculty adviser for the club, hopes that those interested in birdwatching and learning more about the species on campus will be inspired to add to and analyze data about these bird populations.

“We are trying to put together 12 years of data to see if bird populations [on campus]have changed,” Olson said.

For more information, visit the UM Amateur Ornithological Society’s Facebook page.

March 26, 2014

Reporters

Laura Vander Meiden


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

Lester Williams wasn’t on the field playing for the Miami Hurricanes when they won their first natio ...

An extremely frustrated University of Miami football coach Mark Richt began his media availability b ...

UM chatter: • One lesson learned in recent years, as one UM official put it: Don’t get your hopes up ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.