Behavior

Jizz and/or Gestalt

Earlier this summer, there was a discussion on an on-line ornithological bulletin board about the best word to use to describe how birders and ornithologists use their experience with subtleties of species to identify them.  The word that immediately came to mind for me was “gestalt,” which is a German word for “shape” or “form” that is associated usually associated with psychology.  It was the word I had heard growing up.  I specifically remember an ornithologist, Scott Mills, using it when he was talking to a Tucson Audubon Society workshop about identifying the various spe

Video: Leo on Bioluminescence

Beyond the reach of sunlight, thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, some creatures create their own light known as "bioluminescence." Take a trip through the mind of Leo Smith, who asks questions about deep sea fish evolution. Patterns in diversity can offer clues to why fish have evolved so many ways of brightening up the deep sea. Some seem to use light to blend into their surroundings, others to lure prey out of the surroundings, or even to attract mates.

Video: Recovering Peregrines with Mary

"The city is just a pseudo-cliff," says Mary Hennen, explaining a Peregrine falcon's perspective on Chicago's landscape.  The narrow ledges of Chicago's skyscrapers make ideal nesting sites for Illinois's wild Peregrine falcons--a species that might not be absent from the state in the first place if not for the Chicago Peregrine Program (CPP).  Mary Hennen is the Collections Assistant in the Field Museum's Bird Division in addition to being the CPP's Director. She attributes much of the program's success to hard-working researchers and volunteers.

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