After conducting my study and writing the report, I realized that there were a lot of other factors that influenced my results. A couple of these factors were amount of sunlight and competition among birds. It was hard to control for extra factors since I wanted to design a simple, natural experiment as this type of experiment was more accommodating to fit into my schedule. It was also difficult to design a more complex experiment because of budget. In the future, if time and budget were not an issue, I would conduct a longer study and include more feeders in the study. I would also ensure that they are located in sun or shade at the same times of day or vary it in someway to ensure that differing sun levels do not influence the data.
This study has made me appreciate the difficulty of designing an ecological experiment that accounts for all factors. This course has made me realize how difficult and time consuming ecology can be. There is so much information that is known and yet still so much that is unknown or changing. Engaging in an ecological study has definitely increased my appreciation of ecological theory development and how much time, skill, and dedication is required. It is a very important field with many real-world applications.
great to hear the things that were hard and the things that can be taken forward to other courses and perhaps employment!