(A male Ruby-crowned Kinglet.)

The cognitive and behavioural ecology (CABE) program is a good fit for those who are intrigued by how animals interact with their environments. I was introduced to animal behaviour during my undergraduate studies at Memorial by Dr. David Wilson (the current chair of the CABE program). I had the privilege of working with Dr. Wilson on an honour’s dissertation investigating the singing behaviour of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (see image above), in Labrador.

Memorial fostered my interests in the behaviour ecology of birds as an undergraduate student.  As a result, I returned to pursue a Master of Science degree in CABE in the beginning of May, 2019. While my interest in terrestrial birds has not waned, I decided to focus my current research on seabirds, under the supervision of Dr. Bill Montevecchi. A tremendous amount of behavioural ecology literature concentrates on seabirds as the model taxon. Newfoundland has no shortage of seabirds. Studying in Newfoundland offers immense areas of research focusing on seabird biology, which is evident from the collaborative atmosphere cultivated by various faculty members and researchers in the Canadian Wildlife Service. I have greatly benefited from the ease of contacting researchers, on- and off-campus, for advice on writing, study design, and data analysis. Engaging others has given me insightful information on how to approach different problems that I would have otherwise overlooked.

Teaching assistant (TA) positions offer a great opportunity for graduate students interested in improving their communication skills. In some courses, one of the main duties of a TA is overseeing laboratory exercises. I quite enjoy these exercises as they offer an opportunity to review topics I have studied in the past. This semester, I had a gratifying experience in the Animal Behaviour and Ornithology courses. I have had fruitful conversations with students this semester that led me to investigate particular subjects that I now find very relevant to my own research.

I encourage anyone reading this, who is interested in studying animal behaviour, to explore the vast topics pursued by our faculty, and the CABE program. From my experience, Memorial provides a great learning atmosphere that nurtures one’s intrigue and curiosity. I hope you have a prosperous experience at Memorial and bid you a very fond farewell.