Author Archives: Tim O'Connell

Undergraduate research in my lab? Sure! Here’s how it works.

This gallery contains 14 photos.


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
I spend a lot of time bragging about the 15 graduate students who’ve worked in my lab but this post is inspired by the 28 undergraduates I’ve had the good fortune to mentor in…

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A Deep-Rooted Prairie Myth


Originally posted on The Prairie Ecologist:
Anyone familiar with prairies has likely seen drawings and photographs showing the incredibly deep root systems of prairie grasses and other grassland plants.  The prairie ecologist J.E. Weaver, in particular, is well known for…

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Origins of the name of Muscovy duck shrouded in mystery


Originally posted on Our Fine Feathered Friends:
Joan Stenger sent me an email recently about an unusual waterfowl observation. On a recent  Saturday, she visited downtown Bristol where the creek widens a bit near the fire station and beside the…

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Some perspective on peak abundance of Passenger Pigeon

This gallery contains 3 photos.


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
You’ve heard the story before, and it’s sobering: Once perhaps the most abundant vertebrate on the planet, a combination of unremitting exploitation and habitat loss reduced the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) from billions to…

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Personal indicators for COVID19 best practices


There’s CDC or other institutional guidance, and there’s “what this person does” guidance. Both can be informative for how individuals manage their behavior during a deadly, global pandemic. Judging from a recent conversation I’ve had elsewhere, there might be some … Continue reading

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Disability Pride Month- PhD Sierra Williams shares a glimpse of her life


Originally posted on Integrative and Comparative Biology:
by Sierra Williams, PhD and Mangum student program participant- SICB 2021 “Do you wish you had never gotten sick?” my mother asked me. The question made me hesitate. My illness had destroyed my…

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Reflections of a Native birder: The one Indian killer bird name I really have trouble with


Originally posted on Memories of the People:
As a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a birder for nearly fifty years, I offer these thoughts on the burgeoning discussion to re-name birds that are named after people. When people say they…

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Celebrating Sopy Peale – Matthew Halley


Alexander Wilson was but an erstwhile weaver and provocative poet trying to stay out of debtor’s prison before he met Sophonisba Peale. Matthew Halley reacquaints ornithologists with a remarkable woman we should have never forgotten.

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When birding made the cover of Sports Illustrated


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
Yep, that Sports Illustrated. This story has been picked up many times over the past few months, but not yet by me. Thanks to sharp-eyed Scott Kruitbosch from the Connecticut Audubon Society, those of…

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A new idea for what Velociraptors did with those claws


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
By now, we’re all familiar with this image: Velociraptors running at high speed toward a big lumbering dinosaur that the little demons subdue with an onslaught of murderous slashes from an outsized claw on…

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You’re going to graduate – then what?


In the life sciences and especially in ecology, conservation, wildlife management, etc., your success in this field is dictated by the same things that apply in just about any other field. You need to be intelligent, nimble, a good critical … Continue reading

Posted in academics, birds/nature, editorial, environment, mentoring, professional development, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No more recommendation letters, please


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
Has this happened to you? You find a job announcement for a position that could be a great fit for you, but it’s due tomorrow! To apply, send CV (okay), a cover letter (yeah!),…

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September 2020 COVID-19 comparisons: confirmed deaths for the USA, China, and South Korea


Here in the USA, every week presents us with a new normal in our ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many in this country seem to think that this is just how it has to be or, at the very least, they are … Continue reading

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Black lives really do matter


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
Words mean stuff. When white people hear “black lives matter”, many are distracted by the word black, and it leads them down the path of “Hey, ALL lives matter! Why are you singling out…

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Re-imaging the meaning of national defense


Writing for Resilience, Rob Brooks re-imagines a national defense grounded in Wendell Berry’s observation that “Earth is what we all have in common.” “We need to pay as much attention to conserving and restoring the connectivity of the natural infrastructure … Continue reading

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Do you have a voice in government?


Originally posted on The Waterthrush Blog:
I bet rarely would people respond that they feel well-represented in government. I know I’m not well-represented when I long for a revolution in renewable energy but one of my senators is the guy…

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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: some data from the first week of April


As we have now left March 2020 in the rear-view mirror, I thought it might be a good idea to adjust my semi-weekly interpretation of national comparisons on #COVID-19 deaths and drill drown into some data from US states. Apropos … Continue reading

Posted in academics, editorial, environment, evolution, history, life, population estimates, skepticism and science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You Share the Planet With #2: Glistening-green Tanager


It’s taken me one year for the 2nd installment of this series on species of birds new to me, and perhaps to you too. I want to resist the temptation to only present the most colorful species when I do … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, environment, evolution, HBW Alive, IUCN, wildlife, You Share The Planet With | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recording lectures is good for students, good for instructors, and good for public health — Dynamic Ecology


I’ve been thinking of writing a post about my experiences with recording lectures in Intro Bio for a while, and, with coronavirus spreading, now seems like a good time to finally write it up. Overall, I think there have been … Continue reading

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