Superb starlings, other wildlife research in Kenya


This video says about itself:

In April, 2018, I — Christopher Sayers — and a team of three other Cornell students — Facundo Fernandez-Duque, Rachael Mady, and Sarah Toner — traveled to the Mpala Research Centre in central Kenya on an Ivy Expedition. Our mission was to collect photographs, videos, and audio recordings of species underrepresented in the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library.

During the 10-day expedition, we interviewed Shailee Shah ‘14 — an alumna of Cornell who is conducting her Ph.D. research at Mpala on the breeding ecology of Superb Starlings.

Our team filmed Shailee throughout several days of data collection in the field with the ultimate goal of creating a short film about her work. One of the most challenging parts of the filming process was actually getting high quality footage of Superb Starlings — the focal species of the film!

Whenever we would finish setting up the camera and tripod to start recording, the flock of starlings would immediately fly out of frame. It was almost as if they knew we were trying to film them!

After returning to the US, producers in the Cornell Lab’s Multimedia department were gracious enough to mentor me as I worked to bring this piece to life. I practiced using robust video editing software and bolstered my skill set in multimedia productions; I hope to keep improving these skills as I move forward in life. As an emerging scientist myself, I hope to show my audience about the wonders of pursuing field research, and aim to inspire young scientists to follow in Shailee’s footsteps.

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