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Biology Department

Biology Faculty

Belinsky, Kara

BA, Biology, Skidmore College, 1998
PhD, Organismc and Evolutionary Biology, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2008

Assistant Professor

Department: Biology
Office: CSB 218
Phone: (845) 257-3748

Career History

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Biology, Texas Tech University, 2008-2011
Assistant Professor, Arcadia University, 2011-2013

Teaching Interests

I teach Biology Today for non-biology majors, General Biology Labs, Animal Behavior (beginning fall 2014), and Ornithology (beginning spring 2015).

Research/Creative Activity

I study the behavior, ecology, and conservation of songbirds. My dissertation research focused on the evolution of plumage color and singing performance in two species of wood warblers (chestnut-sided and yellowthroat). More recently, I have been studying the song repertoire of a thrush species, the veery. Veeries sing acoustically complex songs, which feature multiple frequencies sung simultaneously. In order to understand how this language works, I record natural veery singing behavior and conduct playback experiments to test hypotheses about the function of specific songs and calls. I am also beginning new research here at New Paltz that aims to understand how urbanization affects songbird habitat choice and use, with the hope that from this we can learn how to create more bird-friendly campus and village.


K. Schmidt and K. Belinsky. 2013. “Singing in the dusk chorus: how veeries cope with the presence of owls”. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

C. Taff, D. Steinberger, C. Clark, K. Belinsky, H. Sacks, C. Freeman-Gallant, P. Dunn, L. Whittingham. 2012. "Multi-modal sexual selection in a warbler: plumage and song are related to different fitness components”. Animal Behaviour

K. Belinsky, J. Hogle*, and K. Schmidt. 2012. “Veeries experience more varied acoustic competition during the dawn than the dusk chorus” Wilson Journal of Ornithology

B. Byers, K. Belinsky, and A. Bentley. 2010. “Independent cultural evolution of two song traditions in a population of chestnut-sided warblers”. American Naturalist