Christine Parker currently works for the Illinois Natural History Survey as a graduate student researcher. She's pursuing her Ph.D. in the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) department at the University of Illinois and is advised by Jeff Hoover.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. In high school I job-shadowed a veterinarian because I liked animals and a forest ranger because I liked nature. I quickly realized there was a lot more to those jobs than I realized and that they weren’t for me.
What drew you to study birds?
In undergrad I fell in love with birds during ornithology class. At the time, I remember laughing when our professor told us about possible career options related to birds… and yet here I am, researching bird behavior.
What do you love about your work at PRI?
I love that the data we are collecting is incredibly versatile. We can ask many different kinds of questions and use the same dataset to answer those questions. Though I’m no longer doing field work for this project, I really enjoyed turkey trapping.
How will your work impact future generations?
I am hopeful that this research will help inform management decisions related to wild turkeys (e.g., harvest timing, habitat management, etc.).
Make sure to check out these two behind the scenes stories—where the wild turkeys aren't and double the traps, double the turkeys—that Christine wrote for the University of Illinois News Bureau on her work!