Evolutionary Biology

A Cassin's Sparrow meets its end a long way from home

Every day during fall migration, the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors deliver to the Field Museum a bag of birds that died flying into windows in the loop as they tried to make their way south to their wintering grounds farther south. These salvaged birds provide a critical component of the museum's bird collection, specimens that can be used by researchers for generations to come to learn about many aspects of our area's birdlife.

How much science is needed for conservation?

Via Facebook, a colleague shared a link to an essay in Animal Behavior by Tim Caro and Paul Sherman entitled: Eighteen reasons animal behavioralists avoid involvement in conservation (Animal Behavior (2012) 85:305-312).  They exhort behavioral scientists to think more about the conservation value of their research.  I agree with this idea, but that does not mean that I think this is universally appreciated.  At one point, they write: “And all the large NGOs, which have a disproportionate

Video: The Birds and the Trees

Are condors more closely related to hawks or to storks?  New research constantly changes our understanding of how birds are related to each other.  At the Field Museum, Shannon Hackett, John Bates, and Dave Willard keep close eyes on avian systematics, the study of evolutionary relationships among birds.  In the past few years, Shannon has collaborated with researchers from other institutions on the Early Bird project to ask big-picture question of how all birds fit on the avian tree of life.

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