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Phillip Gruber’s summer is for the birds.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior majoring in biology is spending the summer studying “The Effects of Anthropological Noise on Bird Feeder Ecosystems,” at research sites throughout the Fox Valley.

Gruber, of Oshkosh, received an undergraduate small grant from UWO’s Office of Student Research and Creative Activity to work on the project with faculty mentor Elsbeth “Misty” McPhee, a conservation biologist whose research interests include studying the effects of captivity on behavior and morphology.

“I am working on a research project this summer studying the effects of anthropological noise on bird feeder ecosystems, and, that is, to further discover the effects that anthropological noise have on animals in general. I am specifically answering the question of how many birds will come to the feeder with noise or without noise,” Gruber said.
“To control the noises, I’m using my phone recordings, which are played through a Bluetooth speaker underneath the feeder. The noises that I am studying are human noises that can range from any kind of car noise to humans talking or walking down the street.”
Gruber hopes to learn more about how birds react to sound.
“It could range from, maybe, we don’t want birds in a certain area, or maybe we do want birds in a certain area, and then adjusting sound accordingly,” he explained. “At the end of the day, when I finish this experiment, I’m hoping to somehow just have more information to provide to science. And if people are willing to listen to or take into consideration sound or noise ordinances, then that would be something of interest.”
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