Chandler Carr ’24 is researching the factors that influence House Wrens when building nests. Carr hopes to study birds in the future. (Photos courtesy of Chandler Carr)

Homing In

Ohio Wesleyan Student’s Research Focuses on Wrens’ Nest Building Behavior

By Cole Hatcher

Name: Chandler Carr ’24
Hometown: Washington Court House, Ohio
Majors: Pre-Professional Zoology and Neuroscience
OWU Connection Experience: Summer Science Research Program

Carr is participating in Ohio Wesleyan’s annual 10-week Summer Science Research Program (SSRP) and studying “Nest Building Behavior and Architecture in House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)” under the mentorship of Dustin Reichard, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biological Sciences. Two of the sites used for the wren studies belong to OWU alumni or their families. 

Carr holds a baby House Wren while conducting research into nest building and architecture.

What I’m Studying

“I am researching the factors that affect the nest building behavior of House Wrens, a common backyard songbird. For example, do female House Wrens consistently build nests at similar heights and with similar objects, such as feathers for comfort, from nest to nest.

“I am collecting completed nests and will be examining the contents of each nest for the number of sticks, feathers, and even parasites. This research will give us a better understanding of the still unknown question as to why there is so much variety in nest building behavior.”

My Favorite Moments

“My favorite part of my work is gaining the experience and knowledge to study animals. It was always my childhood dream and that part of my life is finally coming true.”

Carr is seeking to understand why there is so much variety in House Wren nests.

Lessons Learned

“Having the patience, care, and nerves to work with live, and wild, animals is difficult to learn. Dr. Reichard helps us gain the skills we need in a fun and relaxing environment. From banding birds to taking blood samples, I have gained much-needed experience to continue down the evolutionary biology path.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“They were the only school to respond with handwritten, and personal, notes about my application/essay.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I plan on getting my master’s and doctorate in a related zoology/animal behavior field and continuing to study aspects of avian biology/ethology. The courses, experience, and guidance that OWU faculty provide have made the journey towards this career easier and personal.”