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 Read more about Jizz and/or Gestalt
Blogs & Videos: Birds
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). Read more about Meet the newest species of bird in North America: A Gunnison Sage-Grouse specimen arrives in Chicago
" ... 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). Read more about Hermon Bumpus and House Sparrows
2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, the most numerous bird species in the history of our planet. Read more about Year of the Passenger Pigeon
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. Read more about Book of Eggs
There is a room in the back areas of the museum where specimens are placed in order for them to be cleaned. Read more about Are There Really Bugs That Eat Flesh?
Join us for Part II in our quest to uncover the tropical world of ancient Fossil Lake! Palm trees in Wyoming! Sex in the fossil record! Read more about Fossil Fish, Pt. II: A History
Special thanks to Christine Giannoni, Head of Library Collections, for all of her outstanding help with this episode, and for leading the Turning of the Page every week. We appreciate it! Read more about The Audubon Field Guide
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. Read more about Things seen in the Bird Division #2 (or: A Parliament of Taxidermied Owls)
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 Read more about What can we learn from 30+ years of bird migration data?