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).

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