Gabby Basil ’22 shares love for birding and ornithology


Courtesy of Gabby Basil '22

Gabby Basil ‘22 with a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)

Ashlesha Bhagat , Staff Writer

This week Concordiensis caught up with the founder of Ornithology Club and lover of birding, Gabriela Basil ‘22, a recent graduate.

Talking about her post-graduation path, Basil recounted her experience banding birds in Ontario. She worked at the Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education center, located at the northern part of the boreal forest. 

“It was an absolutely beautiful, very isolated place rich in biodiversity. We would start at sunrise and band birds—songbirds—for six hours. It was incredibly fun. There’s nothing like holding and interacting with a wild bird, and I got to get up close with some of my favorite species, such as warblers and kinglets.”

Basil cited her experience in organismal biology courses at Union as one of the roots of how she got involved with ornithology. Specifically, she was inspired by taking an Ornithology class with Professor Jennifer Bishop, Herpetology with Professor Barbara Ann Pytel, and Vertebrate Natural History with Professor Kathleen LoGiudice. 

According to Basil, the driving force behind the founding of the Ornithology club was the passion she saw in people for birds.

Basil also gave some advice for students interested in ornithology, as it is a rarer field. 

I highly recommend doing field work before starting graduate school, if that is something you’re interested in. Field positions often last only a few months, and while they don’t pay the best, they usually provide housing,” Basil said. 

“The pay aspect didn’t bother me as I had somewhere to live and I was getting hands-on experience working with birds and learning critical skills that are typically required for either higher-level biology positions or graduate school,” Basil explained. 

“Field work is endlessly fun, but can also be brutal—always be prepared for long hours in intense heat or cold, working early or late at night, dealing with insects or wet conditions, and who knows what else,” Basil continued. 

“That being said, it is incredibly worth it,” Basil exclaimed.

If you are someone who is interested in ornithology—join the Ornithology club, if you haven’t already, and connect with Basil!