Murry Burgess

I've always loved animals, which led me to a career in Urban Ecology and Ornithology. I obtained my B.S. in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture from Mississippi State University. I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at North Carolina State University. I study the effects of artificial light at night on Barn Swallow chick health and development. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, art, birding, wildlife photography, and hiking with my dog, Loki.

I conduct field experiments with Barn Swallow chicks to determine how artificial light affects their growth, physical development, and metabolic health. 

Artificial Light at Night (aka, light pollution) is a global issue that affects all wildlife. Research shows that artificial light impacts birds' ability to navigate, mate and reproduce, and sleep at the appropriate time.


 In chicks, artificial light activates cortisol (fight or flight) and glucose (blood sugar), while suppressing melatonin (sleep hormone), which could lead to issues stemming from lack of sleep and altered nutrient allocation. These issues especially effect the metabolic system, which could lead to various metabolic diseases, such as avian diabetes. 



Upcoming Events


Barn Swallow Panel

rare Charitable Research Reserve

(virtual, free)


October 5 from 6:00 - 7:30PM ET

How are the Barn Swallow Chicks Doing?

New Hope Audubon Society and Sierra Club

(virtual, free)

October 26 at 7:00 PM ET

Navigating SciComm and Social Media as a Young Professional

The Wildlife Society 2021 National Conference

(virtual, fee required)

November 5 at 2:00PM ET