Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Kaitlyn Parkins

Nocturnal Navigators: Understanding Migration Dynamics of New York City's Birds and Bats

"CUSP Cool Jobs"

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
6:00–8:00 p.m.
401 Lerner Hall

Each spring and fall, tens of thousands of songbirds and bats make their way through NYC under the cover of nightfall, some journeying thousands of miles on annual migrations. Along the way these tiny animals must survive not only extreme conditions and predators, but also the perilous task of navigating through the built environment. Cities like New York create serious risks for migrating avian species but are also capable of providing bountiful natural resources. Understanding the balance between these effects is critical to achieve positive conservation outcomes for these species. In this talk we’ll explore the migration ecology of bats and birds that move through NYC, the risks they face during migration, and what we can do to protect them. I’ll also discuss the circuitous path that led me to studying wildlife and working in the field of ecology in one of the most urbanized places on the planet.


Kaitlyn Parkins is the Director of Education at the Lower East Side Ecology Center and a bat research consultant for the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York City Audubon Society, and Wild Metro. She holds an M.S. in ecology and an Advanced Certificate in conservation biology from Fordham University where she investigated the role of green roofs in providing foraging habitat for bats in NYC. She has published several scientific papers on the bats of NYC, as well as the risks to migratory birds posed by glass and light. During her time as an M.S. student Kaitlyn also became interested in the relationships between people and nature in human-dominated ecosystems. She is passionate about developing engaging educational programs that promote wildlife conservation, and providing science education to underserved communities.

Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2562

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.