Upcoming Programs

Dr. Richard (Rob) Bierregaard – Tracking Ospreys in the Age of Silicon: Migration, Ecology, and Conservation

February 5, 2018

Rob Bierregaard has been tagging Ospreys in the eastern U.S. since 2000. He has deployed satellite transmitters on 61 juvenile and 47 adult Ospreys. His studies—the first to collect a significant body of data on juvenile migration—have led to surprising discoveries about the dispersal and migration of naïve Ospreys as they leave their natal territories and explore the world around them. Ever-more sophisticated satellite transmitters have enabled us to document in unprecedented detail the hunting behavior of adult males feeding their families and the fine details of their behavior on migration.

Research Associate
Academy of Natural Sciences
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Daniel Mennill - Wild birds learn to sing from experimental vocal tutors

March 5, 2018

In eight groups of animals, including humans and songbirds, young animals learn to vocalize by listening to adults. Experimental evidence from laboratory studies supports this hypothesis for vocal learning, however there is no experimental evidence of vocal learning in wild animals. Dr. Mennill developed an innovative playback technology to simulate vocal tutors in the wild. Together with a team of collaborators, he conducted a five-year experimental study of song learning with free-living migratory Savannah Sparrows living on an island in the Bay of Fundy. He showed that wild songbirds learn to sing by listening to the songs of adult conspecific animals. Further, he showed that the timing with which the tutors are encountered influences vocal learning. This experiment provides the first experimental demonstration that wild birds learn to sing, and reveals that young songbirds learn to sing from nearby animals during critical stages of development early in life.

Associate Dean of Science
University of Windsor

the journal Condor: Ornithological Applications

David Brinker - Rise and Fall of Northern Goshawks in the Central Appalachian Mountains

April 2, 2018

Persecuted for years as a robber of game, as attitudes have slowly changed and over the past 50 years, Northern Goshawks have expanded their breeding range and increased their population size in the Northeastern U. S., including the Central Appalachians.  Since 1977 Dave Brinker has studied goshawks in both Northeastern Wisconsin and the Central Appalachian Mountains.  Initiated in 1994, the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project has monitored over 100 goshawk nesting attempts, banded 63 nesting adults, and investigated winter movements of breeding adults from NW Pennsylvania down the Appalachian Mountains through the high country of West Virginia.

Regional Ecologist
Natural Heritage Program (Maryland)

Founding co-Director
Project Snowstorm

Charles van Rees - Marshbirds in Paradise: The Ecology and Conservation of the Hawaiian Gallinule

May 7, 2018

The Hawaiian Islands have experienced waves of avian extinctions during Polynesian and European colonization, becoming a hotspot for the loss of bird species. Although the plight of Hawaiian forest birds is well known, conservation issues surrounding Hawaiian waterbirds and the wetlands that support them are less well understood. This presentation integrates the full research of Charles' doctoral dissertation, which explored the impacts of habitat fragmentation, historical population declines, climate change, and conservation strategies on the extinction risk of the Hawaiian gallinule (Gallinula galeata sandvicensis). Hawaiian gallinules, an endangered subspecies of the Common gallinule endemic to Hawaii, nearly went extinct in the mid-20th century, being extirpated from all but two islands, and have shown slow population increases in the last forty years. Charles' work has asked whether the species was saved in time, or whether these modest signs of recovery are only temporary.

Doctoral candidate in Biology
Tufts University

Reed Research Group

Past Programs

(NOC members, login to view and listen to presentations)

Dr. Jonathan Regosin – Thirty Years of Piping Plover Conservation and Management in Massachusetts: Long-term Trends and Recent Developments

January 8, 2018

The Piping Plover is a state and federally threatened shorebird, with about 10,000 adults remaining, worldwide.  Massachusetts has an important role to play in Piping Plover conservation, accounting for approximately 40% of the Piping Plovers breeding on the Atlantic Coast.  The speaker will review 30 years of progress in Piping Plover conservation and research, challenges…

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Dr. Amanda Rodewald – A Bird’s Eye View of Nature in the City

December 4, 2017

With urban land expected to triple between 2000-2030, understanding the ecology of cities is sorely needed to safeguard ecosystem services, biodiversity, and our own well-being. One common target of urban conservation is birds, owing to both their charisma and sensitivity to environmental change. Though urban development is a real threat to birds across all ecosystem…

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Dr. James van Remsen – The cavalcade of discovery of new species and genera of South American bird … and how long will it continue?

November 6, 2017

In the 1950s, Ernst Mayr said that the age of discovery of new species of birds had largely ended. Since then, at least 125 new species of birds have been discovered in South America alone, including more than 40 by the LSU Museum of Natural Science. This represents an increase in species richness of about…

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Dr. Joel Cracraft – How many “kinds” of birds are there on Earth: the intersection of science and conservation policy

October 2, 2017

Scientists have long debated the idea of species, and these different conceptions have impacted the way we understand how birds evolved.  These debates have also influenced people’s views of avian diversity as well as avian conservation policy. This talk will lay out these debates and show how they have real-world consequences for conserving global avian…

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The Nuttall Ornithological Club Honors our 50+ Year Members

September 10, 2017

On September 10, 2017, the Nuttall Ornithological Club was pleased to honor our Members who have been with the club for 50 or more years with a luncheon and reception, followed by a visit to the collections in the Ornithology Department at Harvard. This is an amazing group of individuals who have been not only…

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Frank Gill – Bird Species Taxonomy: Then and Now

June 5, 2017

Major changes in world bird taxonomy are underway, driven by advances in speciation concepts and practices. World bird lists are challenged to keep up with the surge in the number of species recognized, together with their nomenclature and phylogeny. Birders are challenged to keep up with the lumps, splits, name changes, and sequences. This talk…

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Dr. Aevar Petersen – Icelandic birds, mainly seabird population changes

May 1, 2017

The talk will focus on three main issues; (1) introduction to the Icelandic bird fauna; (2) seabirds and factors influencing population changes; and (3) seabird monitoring as a conservation tool. The breeding bird fauna of Iceland has rather few species, about 80, but this is made up in numbers. The principal bird groups are anseriform…

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Dr. Leonardo Campagna – The genetic basis of plumage differences in the rapid capuchino seedeater radiation

April 3, 2017

As an evolutionary biologist I seek to understand how biological diversity is generated at the molecular level. I study a group of South American birds known as capuchino seedeaters, which may still be in the process of becoming species. Capuchinos are sexually dimorphic, and males from different species differ in secondary sexual characters such as…

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Lorna J. Gibson – Built to Peck: How Woodpeckers Avoid Brain Injury

March 6, 2017

Woodpeckers peck on trees to feed on insects and sap, to build cavity nests and to drum during courtship. Measurements by a group of neurologists in the 1970s, using high speed video, indicate that woodpeckers can tolerate remarkably high decelerations on impact: up to 1500g, much higher than the level of 100g that causes brain…

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Michael D. Sorenson – Contrasting Patterns of Genetic Divergence in Obligate Brood Parasites: Implications for the Genetics of Host-Specific Adaptation

February 6, 2017

Avian brood parasites and their hosts have served as important models of coevolution and have produced a spectacular diversity of behavioral, morphological and physiological adaptations and counter-adaptations, our knowledge of which has expanded as additional species in Asia and the southern hemisphere have received intensive study. Until recently, essentially nothing was known about the genetic…

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