Dana Moseley is a sensory ecologist who focuses on how birds communicate and how their communication signals are impacted by human noise. Her work addresses how birds persist in urbanized environments and if urban parks can support bird wildlife. Specifically, at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Moseley is working with Brandt Ryder to determine how urbanization affects the songs of a vocal mimic, the gray catbird.
For her postdoctoral fellowship at the SMBC, Moseley is focusing on the gray catbird (Dumatella carolinensis), which can be found breeding right in the middle of Washington, D.C., and is one of Neighborhood Nestwatch’s target species. Catbirds, like mockingbirds, are vocal mimics, meaning they imitate the sounds they hear throughout their lives. The more sounds they can copy appears to indicate some aspect of male quality. Catbirds that grow up in the city may have a reduced opportunity to copy a wide range of natural sounds. However, they are exposed to novel sounds like car alarms, sirens and cell phone rings. How are these novel sounds being used, and do female catbirds prefer the songs of city males or rural males? Moseley addresses these questions and puts the results in the context of nesting success along an urban-to-rural gradient.
Swaddle, J.P.*, D.L. Moseley*, M.K. Hinders & E.P. Smith. 2016. A sonic net excludes birds from an airfield: implications for reducing bird strike and crop losses. Ecological Applications. 26: 339–345. doi:10.1890/15-0829.1 * indicates co-first authors.
Moseley, D.L., D.C. Lahti, & J. Podos. 2013. Responses to song playback vary with the vocal performance of both signal senders and receivers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol. 280 (1768). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2013.1401
Moseley, D.L. & R.H. Wiley. 2013. Individual differences in the vocalizations the buff-throated woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus guttatus), a suboscine bird of neotropical forests. Behaviour. Vol. 150. 1107–1128. DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003079
Podos, J., D. C. Lahti, & D. L. Moseley. 2009. Vocal Performance and Sensorimotor Learning in Songbirds. Advances in the Study of Behavior. Vol. 40: 159-195.