The Project Phoebe Team

Project Leads

Sage Madden

Sage (she/her) is a third year Ecology PhD student in the Patricelli lab at the University of California Davis. She is pursuing her PhD to study how animals respond to human modification of the environment, including urbanization. Our urban jungle presents a range of challenges for the animals who live alongside us, and Sage is fascinated by how animals change to cope with those challenges.

One thing that Sage loves about studying urban birds is that it gives her lots of opportunities to talk to members of the community about research, ecology in general, and birds.

In her free time, Sage loves to read science fiction, hike, bake, and cook.

Sage holds a male Western Bluebird in bander's grip. An oak tree and dry grass are visible in the background.
Sage holding a male Western Bluebird as part of a study on how birds respond to extreme heat. The bird was given unique ID bands (bird jewelry!) and then released.

Jacob Johnson

Jacob (he/him) is an Animal Behavior PhD student in the Hahn lab at UC Davis. He is interested in studying how animals use different behavioral strategies to cope with unusual and/or harsh environments. His research projects feature work in cityscapes with Black Phoebes, wildfire-affected areas with Dark-eyed Juncos, and in the lab with Wolf Spiders and Carpenter Bees. 

Jacob is fascinated by how animals handle environmental change, and believes that cities are one of the best places to see this in action. Because cities are so “new” to animals, they let researchers focus on how behavioral flexibility impacts the ability of animals to survive and reproduce. He is especially curious if the same environmental changes that cause new species to form elsewhere, like on islands, might also be affecting animals in cities as well.

He is an active science communicator, serving as a contributor and editor on the science communication site The Ethogram, writing pop science books, and composing educational music about topics in biology. He also moonlights as a jazz saxophonist in his free time.

Jacob standing on a rocky beach, with some vegetation visible in the background.
Jacob at the beach.

Ian Ramshorn Haliburton

Ian (he/they) is a second-year animal behavior PhD student working in the labs of Tom Hahn and Gail Patricelli. He is interested in the role of behavior in animals’ responses to anthropogenic change and hopes that any research he does may have some implications for the conservation of wild birds and the protection of sensitive habitats. Out of the many challenges that coexisting with humans presents, Ian is drawn towards studying chemical pollution, and he is excited to find creative ways to bridge the fields of ecotoxicology and behavioral ecology, including while working with Project Phoebe!

On the personal side of things, Ian is very much a natural history nerd, and he tries to spend as much time outside as he possibly can. He loves birding (no surprise!), botanizing, hiking, surfing (although this hobby has been a casualty of moving from the coast to the Sacramento valley), and many other active activities. Ian’s other passions include illustrating (the Project Phoebe logo is an example of his work!), playing the piano and spending time with his two budgies, Bunji and Cooee.

Ian standing in front of large rocks with desert hills in the background. Ian is holding a can of soup in one and and binoculars in the other.
Ian in his favorite place (the Anza-Borrego desert), in his characteristically colorful field attire.

2023 Field Season Undergraduate Technicians

Aidan Reynolds

Aidan (he/him) is a Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology undergraduate student in the Patricelli lab at UC Davis.

Aidan is fascinated by wildlife communication and strives to better understand how wildlife cope with inhibitors of communication. He is developing an independent project involving black phoebe vocalizations and how they vary across an urbanization gradient in response to noise pollution.

He enjoys listening to punk music, playing with his cat Zucchini, and traveling with his girlfriend. Aidan has always loved going to zoos, aquariums, and just about anywhere one could see a critter. He treasures the outdoors and spends a substantial amount of his free time hiking, biking, and exploring national and state parks.

Aidan stands in a yard holding a chicken in his arms. A golden retriever can be seen behind him. Some trees, shrubs, and ground littered with brown leaves are visible behind him. A house is visible in the background.

Alia Tu

Alia (she/her) is a second year undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Wildlife Fish and Conservation Biology at UC Davis. When she saw Sage and Jacob present about Project Phoebe at a UCD Birdwatching Club event, she was immediately interested and inspired to get involved. She is especially excited about working in the field, observing bird behavior, and learning more about the scientific process and how birds and humans can coexist in an increasingly urbanized world.

Alia also enjoys working with children and their natural curiosity about the world around us, and is looking forward to opportunities to share the wonders of wild and urban birds with the community.

Along with birding and spending time outside, Alia loves drawing and illustrating nature and her surroundings, as well as playing bass guitar and alto saxophone (she has even been spotted playing saxophone in the middle of the night to the UCD cows).

A face shot of Alia with trees and mountains in the background.

Aziza Carrillo

Aziza (she/her) is second-year undergraduate student studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis. Her passions have always been centered around animals (with a special interest in birds) and environmental conservation. She is excited to be working as a field tech for Project Phoebe to gain some firsthand experience with wild birds and to explore scientific research procedures.

Aziza has two green-cheeked conures, Peanut and Pickle. Her hobbies include playing the flute as well as reading, writing, and watching science fiction. She loves to go birding and photograph wildlife.

A face shot of Aziza with a wetland in the background. Green grass, cattails and other reads, and a body of still water are visible behind her.
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Farah Mustafa

Farah (she/her) is a second-year Wildlife and Fish Conservation Biology major, interested in a career working with birds and small mammals as a conservationist and wildlife researcher. She is a hiker and explorer, an avid reader, and a volunteer at the Foley Lab as well, where she works with with Amargosa voles. She is excited for her first fieldwork position with Project Phoebe, and is looking forward to working with the team.

A face shot of Farah indoors.

Joana Rose

Jo (she/they) is a third-year undergraduate in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at UC Davis. She is interested in the overlap between wildlife conservation, climate change, and making science accessible for local communities of all ages and demographics. She has previously worked on the Putah Creek Nestbox Project and as a resource technician in the Indiana Dunes. In her free time, she likes to go to concerts, watch movies, and spend time with her two cats, Stevie and Bug.

Joana stands on a wooden platform, with a grassy field and a lighthouse in the background. She has binoculars around her neck.
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