My eBird Citizen Science Experiment

10,000 Birds

Two years ago, I was counting active nests of Rooks in the flat agricultural landscape north of Belgrade, Serbia. We drove for about 290 km through the 400 square kilometres expanse of Pancevacki Rit and found 8 breeding colonies with 252 occupied nests, or a density of 1.6 nests per 1 km2. Without an exception, rookeries were within suburbs, villages or large farms (in such cases – next to buildings), away from the riverine forests bordering the area, tree lines or smaller groves in the open.

Potpourri of Amazing Bird Science

10,000 Birds

The potpourri covers some interesting bird related science of the last few weeks, and the promise is this: I’ll get to that other stuff soon, I promise! From Science Daily : Crows have the brain power to solve higher-order, relational-matching tasks, and they can do so spontaneously, according to new research. I was going to have something for you this month about the dinosaur-bird thing, but I never got to it.

Where Are You Birding This Second Weekend of February 2015?

10,000 Birds

The GBBC stands as one of the most important and easy international citizen science initiatives. Don’t you wish this was your backyard? Ready to spend this weekend gazing adoringly at the ones you love? Perfect, because the Great Backyard Bird Count has begun! Just pay attention to a patch or yard for a few days and log your sightings. What a simple yet profound way to contribute to our collective understanding of bird behavior and distribution. Get involved!

2015 59

COMMENTS ON COLLECTING BIRDS: A Reply

10,000 Birds

Science doesn’t work that way! Describing the position that Linda took with regards to the validity of the science as dishonest may have been unfair. Science Schmience. Conservation Animal Rights collecting birds conservation biology science

Birding for the Curious: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Identification will be an underlying theme in later chapters on fieldcraft and “The Birder’s Year”, but for now it’s time to talk about topics not often covered extensively in beginning birder books–“Birding is Better With Friends” (bird walks, bird clubs, national organizations like the ABA), “Bringing the Birds Home” (backyard birding), and “Birding as Giving: Citizen Science” (yes, even beginners can eBird).

2015 83

Thank a Republican for Trying to Strip All Protections from Migratory Birds

10,000 Birds

Last night, reportedly without a vote, the House Commerce, Justice, Science Committee included a rider, offered by Congressman Duncan (R-SC), in the Department of Commerce’s and Department of Justice’s budget appropriations bill that would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting anyone from violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act… …Yep, forget the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (without the possibility of enforcement, laws don’t mean much, do they?).

2015 84

Champions of the Flyway – the Dakar Rally of Birding

10,000 Birds

The 31 teams, 15 of them international and 16 local, set out as the clock struck midnight on March 24th, 2015 to scour the southern part of Israel for as many bird species as possible. A case of mistaken identity, this rare and secretive species, was only officially described to science in the last year.

2015 82

How do bird species compete with each other?

10,000 Birds

Here it is in graphic form: Original Caption from Science Magazine: Duckworth et al. (4) Science 347(6224):875-877. Ecology is amazing. We see interrelationships between plants, animals, and other features of a biological system that can be very complex and in various ways make sense. But we also know from basic evolutionary theory that evolution works mainly at the level of the individuals (more or less).

2015 70

Some thoughts on scientific collecting

10,000 Birds

If you want to know why most scientists support collecting this piece in Science explains it better than I can. I can understand why some people are conflicted, but the value to science of the collections is immense. We should be honest about science and conservation, even if it isn’t always the easiest path.

Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean: A Book Review by a Lover of Parliaments

10,000 Birds

His many book titles include Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds , a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species (2002), Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent’s Natural Soul (2005), and Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding (2007). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 13, 2015).

2015 75

The Bird 10K Project

10,000 Birds

The consortium was able to resolve much of the contested phylogenetic history of modern avian orders… Just to give you an idea of how cool this is, here is the “genome-scale phylogeny of birds” from “Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds” in Science. I was told when I first started blogging here at 10,000 Birds that I was never to use the short form, “10K.”

2015 77

News for Northern Spotted Owl Goes From Bad to Worse

10,000 Birds

News Barred Owl conservation science critically threatened species habitat loss Northern Spotted Owl(Photo by the California Forestry Association). It’s hard to be a Northern Spotted Owl , inhabiting old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. The logging industry has made your existence fraught , and it’s not like you’ve gotten much help from the powers that be. For the past 25 years, you’ve been listed as a Threatened species.

2015 40

In Sunlight or in Shadow

10,000 Birds

Well, it turns out that the science behind this little meme is very relevant to the harder-working birder: it has to to with how our eyes and brain automatically compensate for differing levels of sunlight and shadow. Those of you who go outside like actual birders and/or adults may not be aware of the latest craze to sweep the internet. No, not the llamas. Or the trailer for the new Frozen short. Or even the welcome news the Obama has vetoed the Keystone pipeline.

2015 70

Endangered and Unknown: Pale-headed Brush-Finch

10,000 Birds

The knowledge of its population status, ecology, and background story added color, depth, and meaning to what I was seeing — a species that disappeared from science, was rediscovered, and brought back from the brink of extinction. There are many charismatic endangered birds that capture people’s hearts and imaginations: the colossal California Condor , the evocative Red-crowned Crane , and the adorable Spoon-billed Sandpiper come to mind.

2015 68

How The Bird Got Its Beak

10,000 Birds

But this work also serves to remind us that the processes of genetic change that results eventually in new species, and the occasional adaptive radiation of myriad species (like the birds), is about as well understood by science as the ecology of a rain forest is understood by a grub that greedily eats a tiny portion of one of the trees in that forest. Birds are a subset of dinosaurs (See: Honey, I Shrunk the Dinosaurs.

2015 72

Republicans Out to Destroy Nature Again

10,000 Birds

And, if you support conservation, clean air and water, not letting species go extinct, and the importance of science, then don’t vote for the evil bastards in the Republican Party. Alisa Opar over at Audubon has a good rundown of how bad this Congress is for the environment. If in 2016 the Republicans hold on to the House and Senate and manage to take the Presidency the damage that will be done to our environment will be disastrous.

2015 57

Get Ready for Global Shorebird Counting!

10,000 Birds

Interestingly, citizen science isn’t its primary goal. Clear your calendar for September 4-6! That’s when thousands of people worldwide will head out to a beach near them for Global Shorebird Counting. It’s part of World Shorebirds Day (celebrated annually Sep. 6), which raises awareness of the perils threatening shorebirds and the need to protect them and their habitats. The effort uses eBird to tally the numbers of shorebirds that people spot the world over.

2015 59

Red-tail Without a Cause

10,000 Birds

If you are in Atlanta and find yourself on the southeast edge of town, looking for birds, Woodlands Garden can be found at the intersection of Scott Blvd and Clairemont Ave (a short way beyond Fernbank Natural History Museum and Fernbank Science Centre) at Google Earth ref; 33 47 7.78N 84 18 12.61W.

2015 63

Birding By Impression: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

I would be more apt to accept the science of BBI if the science of hemispheric brain functions was not subject to so much misconceptions and simplification.* Instead, we get references and quotes from Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink , the popular science book that takes bits and pieces from various research projects to make the case that we make choices without consciously thinking. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2015.

2015 59

Just call him Dr. Dolittle

10,000 Birds

As reported by the New York Times , the good professor has made a career out of studying interactions between predators and prey, and has lately homed in on birds’ warning signals, sharing a National Science Foundation grant with scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To paraphrase a very cool Facebook page, I @#$*-ing love science. “Think of the amazing repartee.

2015 54

On the threshold of flight

10,000 Birds

Science 12 December 2014: 346 (6215), 1253293 [DOI:10.1126/science.1253293]. We are on the threshold, just stepping across it really, of understanding one of the most important evolutionary events that ever happened. I speak of flight, of course. This is a key feature of birds. Not all birds fly, but all birds have flight related anatomy and at least descend from those that did. Indeed, we call the very rare non-fliers “flightless.”

2015 64

Just like in people, yawning is contagious in birds

10,000 Birds

Science is fairly well established that yawning can spread like wildfire among groups of humans, as well as a few other mammals. Apologies in advance for the ridiculous amount of yawns that reading this post will engender. Our first victim appears to be the Ring-billed Gull above, photographed by Corey.) Don’t say you weren’t warned! New research suggests that the phenomenon of contagious yawning can also be seen in birds. Click here to go directly to the study.).

2015 55

The Tufted Jays of Nayarit

10,000 Birds

They are listed by the IUCN as near-threatened and their scarcity and localized distribution is indicated by the fact that they were only discovered by science in 1935. Mexico is the best country in the world for jays. More species of jays can be found here than in any other country on earth. Sixteen resident species to be exact.

2015 56

Every sperm is sacred

10,000 Birds

If you’re feeling particularly science-y, the full paper is here.). … especially if you’re a lady bird in heat. Because unlike those of mammals, avian ova need penetration by multiple sperm in order to successfully develop into baby birds. That’s the finding of researchers from the University of Sheffield in the UK, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (If

2015 52

Black Swans in Melbourne

10,000 Birds

Many types of research have to rely on “citizen science” and this is an excellent example where you can contribute and be instantly rewarded with information when you submit your observations. Melbourne you ask…yes, Melbourne! With very little notice Grant was offered a short term job in the city of Melbourne and hopped on a plane from Broome. I had a few commitments at home, requiring me to wait a few days before I joined him to do what wives do and then go birding!

2015 57

Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa

10,000 Birds

I wasn’t there to birdwatch, however, I was volunteering with Wildlife ACT, a conservation organisation that provides science monitoring to the parks of Zululand in South Africa (and increasingly, beyond). The history of Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa is a slightly unusual one. It was founded as a safe place for refugees from the Mozambique Civil War , which ran from 1977 to 1992.

Best Bird of the Year for 2015

10,000 Birds

As 2015 comes to a close and birders the world over start thinking about what 2016 will bring we here at 10,000 Birds would like to take a moment to celebrate our best birds of 2015. Each Beat Writer was given the opportunity to share their Best Bird of the Year for 2015 and, as usual, we had some pretty solid birds. 2015 was great and here’s hoping 2016 will be even better. I got my best bird of the year a bit late in 2015.

2015 63

Flying Dinosaurs: A Review by a Triceratops Fan

10,000 Birds

Pickrell, an Australian science writer who grew up in Great Britain and studied for his master’s degree at London’s Natural History Museum, is clearly engaged with his subject. There is a lot of science here to explain. For the most part, Pickrell’s prose is that of the experienced science writer, clear, concise, organized, occasionally inserting himself, but never too subjectively.

2015 63

Keeping Track of My Birds… for an Entire Year

10,000 Birds

In November of 2015, I saw a Northern Mockingbird 20 out of the 30 days. On May 22, 2015, I embarked on a 365 day-long project. Birds Birding Data scienceA Brown-headed Nuthatch ? 3 of the 30 days. European Starling ? 8 days. If you’re a rational person, you’re asking yourself two questions: How does she know that? Why does she care? Because I like symmetry, I’ll give you two answers: I’m a little bit crazy. I really, really like data.

2016 40

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide — A Review by a Penguin Groupie

10,000 Birds

Science and Conservation , the second section, presents two-page summaries of the diverse research being done around the world about penguins. Last month woodpeckers, this month penguins. Some are cute, some are dignified (and royal!). None fly, most are curious and social, which probably contributes to our cultural perception of penguins as one step away from human.

Birds of Chile – A Photo Guide

10,000 Birds

Guiding aside, Howell is a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and the author of many books, including Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America (Princeton). If you want to write a bird guide, you should have guided people yourself.

Chile 73

Adventures of a Louisiana Birder: One Year, Two Wings, Three Hundred Species–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Chapter Two is a potpourri of stories about nemesis birds, birding by ear, birding for science, under the rubric of birding ‘for the love of it.’ Louisiana is a magical place to bird.

The Most Popular Videos on Our YouTube Channel in 2017

Deming Institute

The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn from the 2015 Deming in Education conference: 2,900 views (2 years – 5,500). Inquiring Minds: Improving Elementary Science – Linda Lippe’s presentation at our 2015 Deming in Education Conference. David Langford’s presentation on Motivation and System Improvement at our 2015 annual conference. Here are the most popular videos on The W. Edwards Deming Institute You Tube channel in the last year.

2018 28

Bird Talk: An Exploration of Avian Communication–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Bird communication is a complex and evolving science. There was a time when I thought each bird species had its own individual song.

Guide to the Birds of Honduras Translation Project

10,000 Birds

He has recorded over 20 new bird records for Honduras, dozens of new butterflies, new orchid records and even new species for science. In 2015, with my self- published Guide to the Birds of Honduras, I had the intent to simultaneously print it in Spanish. I first met Robert Gallardo in 2009, when I made my first visit to the Neotropics for the Mesoamerican Bird Festival in Honduras. Robert arrived in Honduras with Peace Corps in 1993 and has been a resident ever since.

From Today's New York Times

Animal Ethics

This week, Bon Appétit Management Company vowed that by 2015, none of the three million pounds of pork we serve a year (including 800,000 pounds of bacon) will come from hogs confined in gestation crates. Mr. Hurst flippantly questions the ability to measure a pig’s happiness, but sound science—not to mention common sense—clearly establishes that mother pigs locked in gestation crates with so little space that they cannot turn around for most of their lives do indeed suffer.

Urban Ornithology: 150 Years of Birds in New York City–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Two maps of the northwest Bronx and adjacent Yonkers, one from 1891 and one from 2015, pp. Happy New Year, 10,000 Birds readers and writers!

Better Birding: A Book Review (& a New Year’s goal)

10,000 Birds

It is the last day of 2015, time to select the bird of the year past and set goals for the bright open future, when everything is new again. and is currently events coordinator for the American Birding Association and a research associate in the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Press, 2015), and has also written articles on eBird and bird identification. Press; December, 2015.

2016 64

New Birding For A New Year

10,000 Birds

Here are a few suggestions for 2015: Lets get the incredibly unoriginal stuff out of the way first… do a big year. The citizen science aspect is a big hit with many users, and eBirding areas with little existing data can be fun as well. Many readers of 10,000 Birds are more than the casual birdwatcher…they are hopeless bird junkies. Truly depraved birding addicts.

2014 69

Bird Books for Children: From Colors & Shapes to Discovering Central Park

10,000 Birds

Jenkins has written and illustrated a number of science-based books for children, many with his wife, Robin Page. PomegranateKids, 2015; Boardbook edition, 24 pages, 7 x 0.8 It’s never too late or too early to buy a children’s book about birds.

2019 55

Peterson Guide to Bird Identification—In 12 Steps: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

The authors (and I feel obliged to attribute this chapter to both authors, though the writing totally reflects Howells previous essays) then explain the principles of “high-level taxonomy” while simultaneously poking holes in the current state of the science, concluding in the end that ‘species’ are “simply a matter of opinion. However, articulated in a short introductory chapter, they shortchange the ornithological community and science in general.

2018 53

How Many Birders Are There, Really?

10,000 Birds

There are (as of 2015) approximately 262,000 world-wide users of eBird. But that estimate is admittedly more art than science, depending, as it does, on one’s estimate of what fraction of birders would engage in these countable activities. Jason A. Crotty is a birder and lawyer living in Portland, Oregon. Jason’s first contribution to 10,000 Birds tackled the importance of the National Wildlife Refuge System. How many birders are there in America?

2016 61

Far From Land: The Mysterious Lives of Seabirds–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

There are, though, brief, personal comments about scientists he admires, acknowledgements of studies with which he has been personally involved, and, best of all, a selection of the seabird rap delivered by Mark Maftei at the 2nd World Seabird Conference in 2015. Naturalists who love science and want a quick way of reading all the seabird articles in Condor , Marine Biology, and Seabird Conference proceedings.

2018 40