Category Archives: skepticism and science

Handbook of the Birds of the World newsletter #50


The August newsletter of HBW Birds Alive– a milestone as the 50th in this series – has just been released. I’ve already lost track of how many new things I just learned in a few minutes’ browsing. Highlights:    

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Beach-nesting birds: assault from all sides


Their fortunes tied to the tides, many species of coastal birds nest directly on the beach. Here Nature seems to conspire against them in these places we so often associate with idyllic relaxation. On North America’s temperate Atlantic Coast, beaches … Continue reading

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You know these answers


I’ll begin with a brief quiz. You don’t need to study for this; I think you’ll do quite well. Read the prompt and pay attention to the first thing that pops into your head: powerhouse of the cell king of … Continue reading

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Acknowledgments first! Stop stealing your own thunder.


via Why do people blow the punchline in scientific talks? The destructive effect of acknowledgements slides I’ve been trying to get my students to do this for quite some time now. Josh Schimel explains better than I why this is … Continue reading

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More nails in the yeti/bigfoot coffin


The pseudoscientific business of belief in undescribed hominids wandering the wilder places of our planet marches on like a yeti across an alpine snowfield. I found this Barry Gibb-resembling bigfoot at Pike’s Peak in Colorado last summer, and it was … Continue reading

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Some perspective on peak abundance of Passenger Pigeon


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 none in a few short decades … Continue reading

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AUTHOR BLOG: To the Grasshopper Sparrow, the Grass May Be Greener on the Other Side — Auk & Condor Updates


Emily Williams Linked paper: Patterns and correlates of within-season breeding dispersal: A common strategy in a declining grassland songbird by E.J. Williams and W.A. Boyle, The Auk: Ornithological Advances 135:1, January 2018. Late in the summer of 2013, when Alice … Continue reading

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