Category Archives: skepticism and science

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

Posted in academics, editorial, environment, evolution, life, skepticism and science, wildlife, yeti/sasquatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in bird evolution, birds/nature, deforestation, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, history, IUCN, life, Links, National Audubon Society, Partners in Flight, population estimates, population monitoring, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in academics, animal behavior, bird banding, bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, environment, evolution, Links, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why can’t humans affect the climate?


If you have insights on this please help me understand.  As noted this week, discussions of anthropogenic climate change have peaked since President Trump’s decision to renege on US commitments to the Paris Climate Accord.   One of the primary … Continue reading

Posted in birds/nature, deforestation, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, life, skepticism and science, weather, wildlife, wind power | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anatomy and feather structure in a road-killed Barred Owl


On 20 May 2017, I was out in the early morning and chanced upon a rather freshly deceased Barred Owl that had been struck by a car here in Stillwater, OK.  The bird was in excellent shape so I collected … Continue reading

Posted in bird evolution, birds/nature, environment, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Functional diversity assessment – traits!


Post provided by Samuel RP-J Ross Our newly-developed method simulates intraspecific trait variation when measuring biodiversity. This gives us an understanding of how individual variation affects ecosystem processes and functioning. We were able to show that accounting for within-species variation … Continue reading

Posted in birds/nature, deforestation, environment, evolution, IUCN, Links, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anchiornis in living color


Laser flourescence of the feathered dinosaur Anchiornis provides a picture of its life appearance in stunning detail http://ift.tt/2lTPfzX via Laser flourescence of the feathered dinosaur Anchiornis provides a picture of its life appearance in stunning detail — Like For Real Dough

Posted in bird evolution, birds/nature, evolution, history, Links, paleontology, skepticism and science | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2016 Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan


The updated Landbird Conservation Plan from Partners in Flight has just been released. As with previous iterations, the emphasis is on applying objective criteria to determine those species in most need of conservation, delineating the habitats within ecoregions important for … Continue reading

Posted in birds/nature, deforestation, Endangered Species Act, environment, migrants, monarch butterfly, overpopulation, Partners in Flight, population estimates, population monitoring, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HBW Alive Newsletter #21 – March 2016


The latest newsletter of the Handbook of the Birds of the World has been released and it, as usual, is chock full of fascinating discoveries*, insightful synthesis, and stunning multi-media features. *For example, I just learned that a flightless owl … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, Epidexipteryx, evolution, Great Auk, HBW Alive, history, hummingbirds, IUCN, life, migrants, paleontology, skepticism and science, vultures, wildlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Waterthrush Podcast #24: FOY Season


There’s a new episode of The Waterthrush Podcast available.  Check it out to learn about 4 big ideas to advance science, the biggest big year ever, and what this FOY stuff is all about.

Posted in Bird Education Network, BIRDATHON, birding, birds/nature, environment, evolution, IUCN, life, Links, migrants, National Audubon Society, skepticism and science, The Waterthrush Podcast, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What words mean . . .


actually matters. Here in the US, there’s an unfortunate stereotype that someone who encourages the proper use of words and grammatical structures is a pedantic jerk.  If you do this, you might even be an intellectual snob in anti-intellectual America.  … Continue reading

Posted in academics, editorial, history, life, Links, skepticism and science | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

James Borrell on the 10 Essential Skills for Modern Conservationists


Conservationist James Borrell almost always posts thought-provoking ideas.  In this case, I found strong personal agreement with every one of these ten: James Borrell: 10 Essential Skills for Modern Conservationists – Posted on: Apr 1 2015 Posted in: Resources 10 … Continue reading

Posted in academics, birds/nature, editorial, environment, life, overpopulation, professional development, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Advice from a professor who almost flunked out


Sometimes students see their professors as gifted brainiacs, and there are certainly some people like that among my faculty colleagues.  Most of us, however, are nothing special.  What sets us apart really just boils down to two things: interest enough … Continue reading

Posted in academics, editorial, life, professional development, skepticism and science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Waterthrush Podcast #20: Little Martha


Today, 1 September 2014, is the centenary of the death of Martha, the very last Passenger Pigeon.  In an op-ed published today by the New York Times, executive director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology John Fitzpatrick shares his thoughts … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, birding, birds/nature, Christmas Bird Count, deforestation, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, history, IUCN, Links, migrants, monarch butterfly, overpopulation, skepticism and science, The Waterthrush Podcast, wildlife | Leave a comment

Christianity is the McDonald’s of worldviews


I was reading this story about science and religion that included a link to this pie chart of world religious affiliation. The point of Adam Frank’s commentary is to highlight the need to address the “science vs religion” question specifically: … Continue reading

Posted in editorial, skepticism and science | Leave a comment

Wilson Journal of Ornithology: table of contents for vol. 126, #2


The Wilson Journal of Ornithology (formerly The Wilson Bulletin) Journal of the Wilson Ornithological Society Volume 126, Number 2 CONTENTS June 2014 Major Articles 179 The avian biogeography of an Amazonian headwater: the Upper Ucayali River, Peru Michael G. Harvey, … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, bird banding, bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, environment, evolution, life, Links, migrants, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The “rim-laying” Black Robins of the Chatham Islands


The islands of New Zealand are, like those throughout much of the Pacific, a hotbed of ornithological endemism.  Thousands – and millions – of years in isolation from mammalian predators led to the evolution of vast numbers of species poorly … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, bird banding, bird evolution, birds/nature, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, history, IUCN, life, Links, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spoonbill Sandpipers displays tenacity amid adversity


Wild species, even ridiculously cute wild species, can be remarkably tough.  Witness the wanderings of the adult male Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the latest Cornell Lab of Ornithology e-News.

Posted in animal behavior, bird banding, bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, IUCN, Links, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged | Leave a comment

American Bird Conservancy: Cats Indoors program update


ABC Welcomes Cats Indoors Program Officer – New Study Confirms Cats a Major Threat to Bird Populations Please welcome Grant Sizemore as ABC’s new Cats Indoors Program Officer. Grant will be working to advocate for keeping cats indoors and removing … Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, birds/nature, editorial, environment, migrants, skepticism and science, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment