A person's hands releasing a bird
Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Ethan Clotfelter and his students have been studying nesting tree swallows in the Wildlife Sanctuary since 2004. Of the approximately 120 nest boxes they maintain, the majority are occupied by tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), but house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) and Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) also use boxes. Their research has focused on how tree swallows respond to environmental challenges such as insect parasites and changes in nest temperature.

Three students working in a field with bilogy equipment


Peer-reviewed Publications (undergraduate co-authors italicized)

Wolf, S.E., Zhang, S. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2023. Experimental ectoparasite removal has a sex-specific effect on nestling telomere length. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9861.

Sun, N.W., Goodwin, S.E., Griego, M.S., Gerson, A.R. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2019. Does blood loss explain higher resting metabolic rates in nestling birds with hematophagous ectoparasites? Journal of Avian Biology.

DeSimone, J.G., Clotfelter, E.D., Black, E.C. and Knutie, S.A. 2018. Avoidance, tolerance, and resistance to ectoparasites in nestling and adult tree swallows. Journal of Avian Biology 49: jav-01641.

Ardia, D.R., Pérez, J.H. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2010. Experimental cooling during incubation leads to reduced innate immunity and body condition in nestling tree swallows.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 277: 1881-1888.

Morrison, E.S., Ardia, D.R. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2009. Cross-fostering reveals sources of variation in innate immunity and hematocrit in nestling tree swallows. Journal of Avian Biology 40:573-578.

Ardia, D.R., Pérez, J.H., Chad, E.K. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2009. Temperature and life history: experimental heating leads female tree swallows to modulate egg temperature and incubation behaviorJournal of Animal Ecology, 78, 3-14.

Pérez, J.H., Ardia, D.R., Chad, E.K. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2008. Experimental heating reveals nest temperature affects nestling condition in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Biology Letters, 4, 468-471.

Ardia, D.R. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2007. Individual quality and age affect responses to an energetic constraint in a cavity-nesting bird. Behavioral Ecology, 18, 259-266.

Ardia, D.R., Pérez, J.H. and Clotfelter, E.D. 2006. Nest box orientation affects internal temperature and nest site selection by tree swallows. Journal of Field Ornithology, 77, 339-344.