Science

Recently, we have been being warned left, right, and center that avian influenza H5N1 was likely to enter the United States via migratory birds this year (or this spring, or next week, depending on the tenor of the article). I…

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There are only two families of birds found just in the West Indies. One is the Dulidae, consisting of one species, the Palmchat (Dulus dominicus) of Hispanolia. The other is the Todidae, or todies, of which there are five species….

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Nearly every field guide to trees that I’ve seen lists carvings on the trunks of American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) as a field mark. In my urban area, virtually every beech tree is inscribed with carved initials and declarations of…

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An interesting paper in the most recent issue of the Condor, the journal of the Cooper Ornithological Society: Miller, M. W. 2006. Apparent effects of light pollution on singing behavior of American Robins. Condor 108:130-139. The author recorded the initiation…

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footloose

February 25, 2006

in Natural history

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about millipedes, even though there are an estimated 80,000 species on earth (only 10,000 named), with about 1,400 in the U.S. As a gardener and someone who is fond of peeking under…

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Over the weekend, an Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) was found near Point Pelee, Ontario. The sighting of one of these birds in the United States always creates a sensation, because it is a bird of the high Arctic, and fewer…

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brown creeper

January 6, 2006

in Birds,Natural history

crisp brown leaf, wind-blown flake of bark, falling from tree nope, wrong: brown creeper The diminutive Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is notorious for being unobtrusive. Even the creeper’s sweet, clear, musical song can be frustratingly difficult to hear due to…

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This past week I participated in one of several Christmas Bird Counts that I do annually. I’ve done counts here in Michigan on sunny, cloudy, snowy, rainy, raw, and balmy days, but never on a day that included all of…

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This is Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season, the roughly three-week period at the end of each year where teams of determined folks do single-day bird surveys of established 15-mile diameter circles (history here). Typically, participants are given a photocopy of…

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The Auk is the journal of the American Ornithologists’€™ Union, and it publishes some pretty dense material. The last few years, it has featured an increasing number of papers on phylogeny, taxonomy, and genetics. This stuff tends to sail right…

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