Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

The Oblivious Birder.

Jeff created this photo for use in a recent keynote address given at the Spacecoast Bird & Wildlife Fest. Clearly this was tongue in cheek as the birder is completely unaware of the oncoming traffic. However, when he gave the example all admitted that they had seen someone on past field trips where folks had to be asked to get out of the road to allow traffic to pass! He also used this photo as a segue into his look at “birder fashion”!

Image: Jeff Bouton [larger size].

Below the fold is the latest installment of the blog carnival, I and the Bird. I have arranged the contributions into topical categories that will likely make a lot of sense to anyone who regularly reads my own weekly bird publication, Birds in the News.

Since I have been employed as a professor from time to time, I like to write quizzes (although, I do hate to grade them, but nevermind that part). So I promised that I would give away a few books as prizes to those of you who correctly answer questions about this blog carnival. I wrote one question per entry. Those questions can be seen at the end of the carnival, and I will accept answers in email, in the order that the questions were posed — it’s probably best to copy and paste the entire list into an email message and include your answers after each question so I don’t get too confused.

The prize books are free and you can choose which one you want unless someone else has already beaten you to that particular title. The postage is also free, although I think it would be mighty kind of you if you chipped in a few dollars (see the PayPal button on the left?) to cover my shipping costs if you do win a book.


Ornithology

Guadalupe Storm-Petrel wrote an analysis of several peer-reviewed papers about Osprey as sentinals for environmental contamination and finds that the concentrations of some environmental contaminants may be decreasing, and that Osprey populations in the research sites are increasing.

There is a lot of controversy among scientists regarding when modern birds first appeared. The current fossil record suggests that modern birds appeared approximately 60-65 million years ago when the other lineages of dinosaurs (along with at least half of all terrestrial animals) were extinguished by a bolide impact. However, it is possible that modern birds were around much longer than that, although corroborating fossil evidence have yet to be found.

This contribution from The Marvelous in Nature discusses Colour Coding Chickadees, and includes some really marvelous images, too.

Christopher from Catalogue of Organisms writes an interesting essay about the Taxon of the Week. Precisely what is in this taxon, Ardeinae, the herons, is rather controversial, as you will learn when you read about these birds.

Ethology

left i on the news contributes a photoessay of mating California Condors (here’s a video of these birds).

John, author of Born Again Bird Watcher, who is suffering from pneumonia, is exhausted by watching a male American robin attacking his own reflection in a window.

Max, The Apartment Biologist, writes about his delightful new roommates, a pair of Mourning Doves that set up housekeeping to his deck.

Some birds are attracted to fields that are covered with manure, as the Nemesis Bird tells us about in his contribution, Manure Birds.

Backyard Birds

Trevor writes a short essay about his backyard birdbath and includes a picture that will make parrot-lovers’ hearts go boom boom!

Mike of 10,000 Birds, who started this blog carnival back in the late Paleocene, sent a contribution about the winner of a contest he had on his blog, the most beloved backyard bird.

John, who writes Birds, etc., tells his story of seeing a vagrant bird in his yard after announcing to his wife one morning that he’d like to “see something different”. Well, the bird was so different that it turned out to be only the fifth time that species had ever been recorded in the state of Michigan.

Patrick, the author of Hawk Owl’s Nest, shares a picture of a Belted Kingfisher that was hanging around the wastewater pond across the parking lot from where he lives.

Birdfreak honors Citizen Science month by writing a short piece about The Secret Life of Birds.

Wrenaissance Reflections sent a picture of a bird sitting her fence railing, asking Why do they do this?

Craig of Peregrine’s Bird Blog in Northern Ireland writes about some backyard guests that snack at his birdfeeder, and includes photographs for you to enjoy.

Some people, like the author of The House and Other Arctic Musings, live in places that others of us only dream about, and their backyard birds are majestic species like ravens.

Bird Watching Trip Reports

The ornithologist who writes The Feather and the Flower contributes a short piece about The Land of Ice and Snow where he snaps a nice picture of a red shouldered hawk in a snowstorm.

Dendroica joins a small group of birders in NYC who are waiting to spot a rare bird hanging around in Union Square Park near the subway entrance. His story includes links to several images. The authors of Birding in New Jersey Blog were also at this park and sent this image of the bird for us to enjoy.

Karen (whom I love) of The Greenbelt, and a friend of hers went out chasing two rarities that popped up in her neck of the woods in Maryland, and ended up seeing them both!

Nick, of Biological Ramblings, includes a report from a birding trip around Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY. Besides seeing some nice birds, his report includes images and video, all of which made my toes freeze while I was looking at them.

N8 at The Drinking Bird writes a long but entertaining story about his recent pelagic birding trip, Sea Change, where he tells us an alternative way to chum.

Wandering Weeta writes a report about her birding trip on Crescent Beach, British Columbia, complete with lots of images.

Is anyone out there interested in going birding in Australia? I know I am, especially since Duncan, who writes Scottish-sounding Ben Cruachan, tells us about some real avian treasures to be seen there! Includes pictures, too.

Dea, the author of The DFL Chronicles, tells us all about her birding trip in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand (do I hear someone screaming with envy?). Everyone on the trip was Thai, except one Japanese man who spoke Thai, and there was Dea, who provided much amusement to her local birding pals, especially when she photographed her lunch for all of us to see.

Experienced birder-cum-bird photographer KC Tsang of Bird Ecology Study Group was at Telok Blangah Hill Park when he witnessed an eagle flying off with a helpless prey clutched in its talons. This in itself would be an exciting experience for any birder. But he also documented another raptor circling around and a third flying off, also with prey tightly clutched in its talons. Includes spectacular pictures, too.

Amila, who writes Gallicissa, sent a long but very interesting report, just to make us all green with envy, about his trip through the Sinharaja rainforest with two friends.

And Then There’s All Those Owls

Speaking of chasing wild geese, Eric at Confessions of a Backdoor Biologist, led me on quite a chase through the intertubes with his submission, which had a typographical error in the URL. But I am a determined and skilled electronic bird detective, so I managed to locate his contribution, which is just as elusive as an Eastern screech-owl!

Proving that owls have captured the imagination of the contributors to this carnival, Via Negativa sent us a story about screech-owl love which includes descriptions of the mating habits of these diminutive owls. Over 18, please.

A late submission from OwlBox tells the author’s story where he finally got out to look for — what else? — owls. He includes some pictures of his discoveries, too.

Birding Tricks

The SW WI Birder shares some bird identification tricks in his essay, Learning Bird Identification. He tells us the basic steps involved, but do not be deceived; it is more difficult than it sounds!

Questions (not in any particular order, sorry)

  1. When are color bands typically used on birds?
  2. How many bird photo groups were started on Flickr by the Birdfreak Team and what are they about?
  3. What unusual bird species did John see in Michigan?
  4. What is the name of the body of water where Duncan and Peter saw the Banded and Black-winged stilts?
  5. Which woodpecker did Nick see on his birding trip?
  6. What was the surprise bird identification mentioned by Chris?
  7. What species of owl does Owlman wish would move into his nestbox?
  8. Why was Mike/noflickster driving on back roads in a snow storm?
  9. Why are birds attracted to fields of manure in the winter?
  10. What were the identification numbers of each sex of the mating California Condors?
  11. What was the prey animal that the Changeable Hawk Eagle was carrying when photographed?
  12. What was Wrenaissance Woman’s bird doing?
  13. According to Dedroica, what was the pigeons’ reaction to a recording that was playing on a loudspeaker across the street from the park?
  14. Which contaminant is increasing in Osprey found along the the Lower Columbia River?
  15. What species of bird was new to Trevor’s backyard birdbath?
  16. What were the life birds that N8 saw on his trip?
  17. Who were Craig (Peregrine’s) unwelcome backyard bird feeder visitors?
  18. .

  19. Can you name the four groups that the herons usually divided into?
  20. Which owl species was Eric looking for that he did not find?
  21. What sex was Patrick’s kingfisher?
  22. How many species of birds have been found in Sinharaja’s mixed species flocks?
  23. Why was John’s American robin attacking his reflection?
  24. Which parent MODO produces crop milk and what is its purpose?
  25. What made Dea’s Thai lunch so special?
  26. What bird species did Susannah photograph in the top of the tree?
  27. What did Karen say that “real birders” do?
  28. Where do the ravens hang out in the winter, according to the author of Arctic Musings?
  29. What are the weaknesses associated with the two dating methods used that cause the “rocks versus clocks” controversy?
  30. Which avian species is the most beloved backyard bird?

The books;

All Things Reconsidered By Roger Tory Peterson (paperback)

The Meinertzhagen Mystery by Brian Garfield (paperback, advanced reading copy)

Seeking the Sacred Raven by Mark Jerome Walters (paperback, uncorrected proof)

Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion by Pete Dunne (paperback, advanced reading copy)

Okay, good luck with the questions, you guys.

The next edition of I and the Bird will be hosted by Tai (p.taihaku [at] googlemail [dot] com) Earth, Wind and Water on Thursday, March 6, so the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, March 4.

Comments

  1. #1 Duncan
    February 21, 2008

    A nice collection grrlscientist, well done!

  2. #2 The Ridger
    February 21, 2008

    Nicely done! Thanks.

  3. #3 Amy
    February 21, 2008

    Nice twist with the questions and prizes! Kudos!

  4. #4 Peter Shute
    February 21, 2008

    I noticed a strange feature of this web page. No matter where I am on the page, if I press Page Down it jumps back to the top. I’ve never seen that before.

  5. #5 John L. Trapp
    February 21, 2008

    A nicely organized collection, grrlscientist. I like the way you incorporated the quiz function.

  6. #6 Ecobirder
    February 21, 2008

    I am kind of disappointed that the submission that I sent in did not seem to make it. I guess I will have to wait for the next Iandthebirds.

  7. #7 Owlman
    February 21, 2008

    Great I & the bird. I love the main picture – looks like the guy even has the bins the wrong way around ;-]

  8. #8 "GrrlScientist"
    February 21, 2008

    that’s truly weird, peter. it doesn’t happen to me (i use safari/mac — which are you using?).

    sorry Ecobirder! your submission had a typo in the URL so i wasn’t able to find the submission that you had sent in. i was poking around the intertubes for it at 3am, but was just so tired that i eventually gave up. sorry about that.

  9. #9 Ecobirder
    February 22, 2008

    I am sure that it was probably my fault. The URL was probably too long for the form.

  10. #10 Jeanette
    February 22, 2008

    Beautiful “I and the Bird” carnival and I love the variety of topics and discussion! I also love the great photos submitted (and the funny lead photo by Jeff–is that his backside by any chance…?)

    Devorah, Thanks for the gifts you coordinate and offer here, and hope all’s ok.

  11. #11 biosparite
    February 22, 2008

    G/S,
    What a clever narrative you have prepared for this blog carnival. Now I wish I had a blog so I could try to get something published in your next carnival hosting.

  12. #12 char
    March 20, 2008

    hi~ when is your next carnival? myself and a fellow birding friend (who blogs) would like to make submissions.

    http://psipsychologytutor.com/2008/03/21/backyard-psychology-observations-with-the-birds/

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