By Samuel Boakye Yiadom
On May 14th, 2020, I was privileged to participate in the Sigma Xi Virtual Student Scholars Symposium via Zoom. My presentation, “Arrival time and habitat preference of migrant birds at a wooded university campus in northern Ghana,” focused on migratory birds that breed in Eurasia and winter in Africa.
Samuel Boakye Yiadom on his way to do
a bird survey in Mole National Park, Ghana.
Understanding Afro-Palearctic birds’ habitat use on migration and on their wintering grounds, which may comprise the majority of their life cycles, is important both to advance our understanding of their ecology and for conservation. For many species of such migrants, however, little is known about their lives outside the breeding season, even if their breeding ecology is well-studied. With this in mind, I presented the results of my fieldwork documenting wintering migrants’ arrival times and habitat preferences of Afro-Palearctic migrants wintering in northern Ghana, based on my undergraduate thesis at the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University for Development Studies, Ghana.
Presenting at this symposium was an unforgettable experience and my first opportunity to meet students from institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, and Arizona State University, and to share our research findings together. It was a great achievement for me since I was the only Ghanaian and indeed, the only African participant. It was an exciting moment when I actually made my presentation. I’m thankful to the Sigma Xi Research Society for organizing the symposium. This opportunity has boosted my morale and has given me the impression that anything is possible provided we work hard and are committed to our duties.
Samuel Boakye Yiadom conducting
a bird survey in Mole
with IBCP postdoc Sandra Goded.
In my part of the world, little recognition is given to biological conservation, especially with regard to birds. This reason, coupled with my love for nature, makes me aspire to be a conservation biologist with a specialization in ornithology. I am privileged to benefit from the mentorship of wonderful ornithologists like Dr. Nathaniel Annorbah at my alma mater, and Dr. Sandra Goded and Dr. Nico Arcilla at IBCP. I am grateful for their support in helping shape my career and become the research ornithologist I dream of being.