Christine R. Dahlin
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
450 Schoolhouse Rd
Krebs 251 A
Johnstown, PA 15904
General Research Interests
I pursue behavioral, evolutionary and ecological questions in birds. Much of my research has focused on the use of vocal signals in parrots and corvids, who offer intriguing parallels with human behavior due to their vocal learning abilities and complex sociality. Vocal learning is shared by few other taxa in the animal kingdom, and much is unknown about how it shapes communication in organisms such as parrots.
My long-time study species, the yellow-naped amazon, has dialects much like people; when you move from one dialect to another all of their vocalizations change! Unfortunately their amazing mimicry abilities makes them highly desirable to the pet trade and they are now listed as "critically endangered". Thus, another focus of my research is species conservation. I work with many collaborators in the Mesoamerican Parrot Census Network (MPCN) to actively monitor and protect yellow-napes. To check out more info on yellow-naped amazons, check them out on the red list.
Photo courtesy of The World Parrot Trust
Above: Research group from 2016, Yoko the cockatoo (avian assistant), and run-in with a red-tail hawk at Pitt-Johnstown campus. Below: Adventures in Ornithology class while banding birds at Powdermill Nature Center. Featured are a black-billed cuckoo, feisty titmouse, black-throated blue-warbler and Northern cardinal. Photos courtesy of Alberto Vanhecke.