Blogs & Videos: Birds

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

Meet the newest species of bird in North America: A Gunnison Sage-Grouse specimen arrives in Chicago

The last new species of bird to be described in the United States--in fact the first since the 19th century--was Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus), described to science in 2000 on the basis of behavioral, vocal, and morphological (size and plumage) differences from its larger, more widespread cousin, the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).

Hermon Bumpus and House Sparrows

" ... on February 1 of the present year (1898), when, after an uncommonly severe storm of snow, rain, and sleet, a number of English sparrows [= House Sparrows, Passer domesticus] were brought to the Anatomical Laboratory of Brown University [, Providence, Rhode Island]. Seventy-two of these birds revived; sixty-four perished; ... " (p. 209). "... the storm was of long duration, and the birds were picked up, not in one locality, but in several localities; ... " (p. 212).

Book of Eggs

Field Museum scientists and colleagues have just released a new book, entitled The Book of Eggs. The book is a lifesize guide that introduces readers to six hundred bird species from around the world, whose eggs are housed mostly at The Field Museum. Readers will embark on a journey told through individual stories that highlight the strategies employed by birds to successfully reproduce through the fragile but colorful structure that is the egg.

Things seen in the Bird Division #2 (or: A Parliament of Taxidermied Owls)

The winter of 2012-2013 was a remarkable one for birders seeking Boreal Owls, one of the most difficult North American birds to see. That winter there was an irruption of these owls into the upper Midwest, probably due to some sort of change in the abundance of Boreal Owl food in their normal range. Birders flocked to the boreal forests around Duluth, Minnesota, and most came away with their lifer Boreal Owl.

2014 REU Intern Max Witynski

What can we learn from 30+ years of bird migration data?

MAX WITYNSKI Freshman Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology major at Cornell University REU Advisors: Dr. David Willard (Adjunct Curator, Birds), Dr. Ben Marks (Collection Manager, Birds) and Dr. Douglas Stotz (Research Ecologist, Action Center) Symposium Presentation Title: Lessons from 35 years of migratory bird collisions in Chicago

Pages