Dr. John F. Cavitt
Office: ET 135, LI 58
Avian Ecology Lab: ET 133
Avian Ecology Lab - 626-8634
Office - 626-8541, 626-6172
Course Content and Objectives:
This course is designed to introduce students to the
field of Ornithology. Unlike most
of the courses in our department, this course will look at biology from the
viewpoint of a particular class of organism - birds. Ornithology is integrative in nature and as such, we will be
touching upon almost all aspects of avian biology.
Upon completion of this course students should be
the basic classification and phylogeny of birds and understand their evolution
the basic life processes, characteristics and behaviors unique to birds
common species found within the intermountain west
Attendance is required for you to succeed in the
course for a number of reasons: 1) I will be presenting material in class that
is not found in your text, 2) I utilize an Active Learning style
of teaching that requires student participation, and 3) Quizzes will be given
periodically during lecture which cannot be made-up. If you have to miss a lecture due to an illness, for example,
be sure to get good notes from someone in the class right away.
I will not be able to provide students with lecture notes.
I also expect students to arrive on time and to stay for the entire
class. My lectures continue until 11:15. The class will be dismissed
as soon as my thought is completed. Although
I expect you to attend class I will not record attendance.
I also expect students to show proper classroom etiquette by- 1) not
talking while I am talking, 2) not sleeping or reading during class, 3) turning
off all cell phones before class.
a Zoology major, you are expected to spend 2-3 hours per credit hour, every week
outside of class studying and preparing assignments.
Thus for a 4 credit hour course like Ornithology, you should be spending
8-9 hours studying outside of class. If
you are involved in other activities that prevent you from devoting the
necessary time to study/assignments, you need to make choices and adjust your
schedule as necessary. I will
demonstrate respect for each student and in turn you will demonstrate a
respectful attitude toward me as well as other students in the class.
Exams, Quizzes and Assignments:
expected to take all exams as scheduled. If
you have to miss an exam, you must let me know BEFORE THE EXAM, or as soon as
physically possible. It is your
responsibility to contact me if for some valid reason you miss an exam and must
arrange a make-up (exam make-ups are essay exams). Quizzes cannot
be made-up if missed. Students will
not be penalized for missed quizzes if the absence is excused (illness, death)
by me. Excused absences will be
granted only if I am notified as soon as possible.
Late assignments will be penalized 5% / day, up to five days late; after
five days, unexcused late assignments will not be accepted.
Late assignments will be accepted without penalty only if a valid excuse
(e.g. documented illness) is presented as close to the due-date as is practical.
Each student is expected to do his or her own work.
Cheating, plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty will not be
tolerated. Students are expected to abide by the Student Code as printed in the
WSU Student Handbook. Proof of academic dishonesty will result in a final grade
of E for the course and the circumstances will be reported to appropriate
Any student requiring
accommodations or services due to a disability must contact Services for
Students with Disabilities (SSD) in room 181 of the Student Service Center.
SSD can also arrange to provide course materials (including this
syllabus) in alternative formats if necessary.
of us is as smart as all of us, Roy Disney.
Students who study with (a) classmates) learn more and get better grades.
Do yourself a favor: take the initiative and find a study partner or two
and do some studying together. Remember
to quiz each other thoroughly. You
want to find out BEFORE an exam what you dont know and then learn it.
Many of the assignments can be completed together so establishing study
groups can greatly assist you in completing the material.
(1) Textbook: 2007. Frank B. Gill. Ornithology. Freeman 3rd edition.
(2) Recommended Field Guide: Sibley, David Allen. 2003. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, New York.
(3) Other sources as assigned in lecture; these will
be posted as pdf files on
There will be a total of 600pts over the course of the semester. The points will be distributed as follows:
(1) 250pts from the Laboratory (see Laboratory)
(2) 100pts from exam 1, Thursday, February 14
(3) 100pts from exam 2, Thursday, April 4
(4) 150pts from comprehensive final, Thursday, April 25, 2012 - 11:00am
The following percentages will determine the grade earned:
93 - 100% A
90 - 92% A-
87 - 89% B+
83 - 86% B
80 - 82% B-
77 - 79% C+
73 - 76% C
70 - 72% C-
67 - 69% D+
63 - 66% D
60 - 62% D-
below 60% E