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Koenig Lab Members

If you're hoping to enter a Ph.D. program in behavioral ecology and are thinking of applying to Cornell's field of Neurobiology and Behavior, see my page for prospective graduate students.

I'm always happy to talk to students about potential research possibilities, but at this point, it would probably have to be in California, as I am no longer living in Ithaca.

Postdoctoral associates (more or less recent past)

Mario Pesendorfer. (Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln). Ecology and masting of California oaks. Currently a postdoc at the Institute of Forest Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna, Austria.

Eric Walters. (Ph.D., Florida State University). Ecology of cooperative breeding in the acorn woodpecker. Currently an Associate Professor at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Brian Barringer. (Ph.D., Cornell University). Phenology and acorn production in valley oaks. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, WI

Ian Pearse. (Ph.D., UC Davis). Phenology and acorn production in valley oaks. Now with the US Forest Service in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Cornell University Ph.D. students

Josh LaPergola. Social behavior and ecology of the Hispaniolan Woodpecker. Ph.D., 2018. Currently a postdoc at Princeton University.

Mickey Pardo. Vocal communication in the Acorn Woodpecker. Ph.D., 2019. Currently a postdoc at Colorado State University.

Cornell University undergrads

Caroline Rusk, B.S. 2012.

Devin McMahon. Cornell University REU, summer 2013. Changes in vegetation at Hastings, 1980-2013.

David Weber. Cornell University REU student, summers 2013 and 2014. Cavity use of birds at Hastings Reservation.

Jennifer Kim. Cornell University REU student, summer 2015/2016. Oak regeneration at Hastings Reservation.

Eve Hallock. Cornell University REU student, summer 2019. Cavity reuse by acorn woodpeckers.

The last crop of my UC Berkeley students who finished their degrees

Dan Levitis, 2009. Thesis title: Post-fertile survival: the evolution of a demographic anomaly. Currently with the Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma, CA.

Bill Monahan, 2007. Thesis title: Microevolutionary responses of the house sparrow to changing environments. Currently an ecologist with US Forest Service in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Lauryn Benedict, 2007. Thesis title: Functional vocal communication and social behavior in the California towhee. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Northern Colorado.

Alan Krakauer, 2005. Thesis title: The evolution of cooperative male courtship: kin selection and the mating system of the wild turkey. Currently making his way as a wildlife photographer in the Bay Area.


We regularly hire interns to work at Hastings Reservation in central coastal California on either the acorn woodpecker or oak projects. The two main seasons are spring (March through mid-July) and winter (September through mid-March); we also sometimes hire people during the summer (July and August). None of these positions pay much, but they offer great opportunities for field experience. Please contact Eric Walters well in advance.

More information on internships and how to apply is available here.

Field crew at Hastings Reservation, spring 2012

Field crew at Hastings Reservation, spring 2012

See for more images of Hastings Reservation

Contact Information

Walter D. Koenig

38601 E. Carmel Valley Rd. Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Ph: 607 - 221-7591

  • Climbing to a woodpecker nest at Hastings Reservation