My background

I received my B.S. in Biology from Canisius College in 2011, M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware in 2013, and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Oklahoma in 2017. I am currently a Rose Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I study bird migration using a range of tools and approaches, including the use of radar, acoustics, and citizen science data. My work addresses a handful of core migration questions, including avian flight  strategies, long-term phenological change, population estimates, the impact of artificial light, and migration forecasting.

Spring 2019 NEXRAD time-lapse. Imagery shows raw radar reflectivity, containing signal returns from weather (precipitation) and biology (birds, bats, and insects). White points show the locations of the 143 WSR-88D stations across the lower 48 states.

Research Highlight

Bright lights in the big cities: migratory birds’ exposure to artificial light. (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2019). 🔗

K. G. Horton, C. Nilsson, B. M. Van Doren, F. A La Sorte, A. M. Dokter, and A. Farnsworth.

125 largest US city rankings: Link

Abstract: Many species of migratory birds have evolved the ability to migrate at night, and the recent and rapid expansion of artificial light at night has markedly altered the nighttime sky through which they travel. Migrating birds regularly pass through heavily illuminated landscapes, and bright lights affect avian orientation. But risks to migrating birds from artificial light are not spatially or temporally uniform, representing a challenge for mitigating potential hazards and developing action plans to catalog risks at continental scales. We leveraged over two decades of remote-sensing data collected by weather surveillance radar and satellite-based sensors to identify locations and times of year when the highest numbers of migrating birds are exposed to light pollution in the contiguous US. Our continental-scale quantification of light exposure provides a novel opportunity for dynamic and targeted conservation strategies to address the hazards posed by light pollution to nocturnally migrating birds.

Instagram  @kyhorton21