Kelsey McCune — What Grackles Can Tell Us

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Kelsey McCune will give us a Zoom presentation of her work studying the ability of species to adapt behavior to new circumstances and expanding geographic range.  Her focus will be on Great-tailed Grackles as a model system to investigate this question.  She will describe how behavioral flexibility, as well as several other individual traits, are measured across three populations, and will illustrate with videos  She will share with us some preliminary results from the data collected on the first population of Grackles from Arizona and discuss our progress on data collection in the California population.

Kelsey completed her PhD in animal behavior from the University of Washington in 2018.  Her dissertation compared asocial California scrub-jays and social Mexican jays on social behavior, learning ability and personality traits.  Her research discovered the presence of social learning in both the social and asocial species, that only Mexican jays group by boldness, and that jays in the wild are better problem-solvers than jays held in captivity.  Currently, Kelsey is a postdoctoral scholar at UCSB and part of the Grackle Project research group started by Dr. Corina Logan.  This project compares multiple populations of Grackles across their range to quantify the behavioral and physiological traits related to invasion success.

This promises to be a fascinating presentation from someone who has studied a population of birds we don’t think about a lot, and has drawn conclusions of great interest. If you want to join the Zoom meeting and see/hear what Kelsey has to offer us, sign up by entering your information below and you will receive a link. (If you’ve signed up for a previous Zoom event, no need — you’re already on our list!)