Researcher to present findings about GIS impact on bird injuries

Rachel Stanevich, Contributing Writer

Researcher Tyler Wright will be presenting his findings on how Geospatial Information Systems help prevent bird injuries and deaths at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Physical Science building.

This event will be a part of the department’s Colloquium Series.

Wright became interested in studying birds as a child, when he would watch his grandpa birdwatch around the yard. Wright took a year off after high school because he was unsure of what his future held. One day, he was fishing and saw a giant nest in the trees across from the wetland. Wright then went to his grandfather’s store and bought a cheap pair of binoculars. He discovered baby eaglets and watched them for a couple weeks.

“I actually started to bird watch. I bought a field guide and realized that there are close to 900-plus different species of birds in the country,” Wright said. “The diversity and beauty of this one group of animals in our local area astounded me, and just like that I was in love with the birds.”

Wright studied wildlife conservation at Lake Land College. During his GIS class, Wright’s professor got him an internship at Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperation. This internship taught him about birds and the problems with electric utilities.

During Wright’s presentation, he will be discussing how they came to the certain conclusion and the process used to get there.

“I plan to tell them a little bit about why birds are susceptible to being injured by power utilities and how we plan to work in the future to change that,” Wright said.

Wright wants to get across to people at his presentation that this is an issue that should be addressed.

“Most people either don’t care or just do not think about it. Birds have enough to deal with people taking more and more habitats and the global weather changing,” Wright said. “The least thing we can do is think about them as we are building new utility structures or refitting old ones.”

Diane Burns, chair of the geology/geography department, said the series was started about eight years ago by herself and Michael Corenbise, interim associate dean of the College of Sciences.

“The aim is to bring interesting speakers, especially our highly valued alumni, to campus to provide our majors with a glimpse into different career paths,” Burns said. “This also … provides the public topics about which they might like to know more information.”

People such as Bill McNulty, a geology alumnus who produced maps for National Geographic, and Colonel Robert Sinkler, a geography alumnus who aided in the reconstruction of levees after Hurricane Katrina, have spoken for the Colloquium Series.  The departments have also shown movies about matters such as global warming.

“This series is meant to not only present our science, but also to demonstrate to the public that the geosciences are intimately related to their everyday lives,” Burns said.


Rachel Stanevich can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].