PLEASE NOTE: Upcoming Nuttall monthly meetings (October to January, at least) will be held virtually. Details will be provided to members as they become available.
Tim Low – Australia's Birds Have Populated the World
October 5, 2020
America’s warblers, jays and all other songbirds on earth can be traced back to an origin in Australia. Genetic, fossil and anatomical evidence all point to this conclusion, which is now consensus science. As befits their very long residence, songbirds in Australia are exceptionally diverse in behaviours, with bowerbirds collecting plastic, magpies blinding children, choughs that kidnap helpers, honeyeaters that farm insects (leading to thousands of tree deaths), and the world’s most promiscuous songbirds. Australia has also given the world many parrots and pigeons, including the dodo. Its cassowaries are the world’s most dangerous garden birds, responsible for serious injuries and human deaths.
Tim Low is an Australian biologist, environmental consultant and best-selling author of seven books about nature and conservation. His Where Song Began won the Australian Book Industry Award for best general non-fiction as well as other prizes. It was strongly praised in the New York Review of Books and recommended by Scientific American. An earlier book, Feral Future, inspired the formation of the Invasive Species Council, an Australian conservation organization that campaigns for better policies on invasive species. Tim’s articles have appeared in Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has decades of experience as a field zoologist and botanist, having discovered several new lizard species, including one named after him. He has watched birds on every continent.
Morgan Tingley – The Journey of Birds Across Space and Time
November 2, 2020
Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
The Carolina Parakeet, the Heath Hen, the Passenger Pigeon—when we contemplate how our country’s bird life has changed, we often focus on the handful of species we have lost entirely. But while we have yet to lose a single bird species to our rapidly changing climate, the birds around us have been adapting and changing in a multitude of ways. Join Dr. Tingley on a journey across our nation and through the last century, walking in the footsteps of past zoologists to compare their world to the one we see today, to learn how climate change has already dramatically changed the lives of birds.
Morgan Tingley is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the faculty at UCLA in 2020, after previously serving as an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut and as a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Princeton University. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this, he received a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.Sc. from Oxford University. He is an elected fellow of the American Ornithological Society and a research associate with the Institute for Bird Populations. He is a recipient of the “Wings across the Americas” conservation award from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Young Professional Award from the Cooper Ornithological Society. His research papers have been covered widely by the popular press, including features by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Dan Lewis – Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds
December 7, 2020
Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens and Associate Research Professor of History of Claremont Graduate University
Robert Ridgway, the Smithsonian’s first Curator of Birds, was one of the world’s top ornithologists, systematists and bird artists, impactful in a wide variety of ways and disciplines. He remains little-known today, but he played an essential role in the development of the modern study of birds. He also was a direct inspiration to William Brewster, founder of the NOC. Dr. Lewis will discuss the history of Ridgway’s work, what it has meant for the study of birds, and what its implications are for the future of conservation.
A native of Hawai’i, Daniel Lewis is the Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in Southern California. He is an environmental historian who writes mostly about birds and the history of ornithology. He holds the PhD from the University of California in History, and has a faculty appointment in environmental humanities at Caltech, as well as serving as Associate Research Professor of History of Claremont Graduate University. At Caltech, he teaches the country’s only course on the anthropocentric history of extinction.
(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
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…Read More
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…Read More
Dr. James van Remsen – The cavalcade of discovery of new species and genera of South American bird … and how long will it continue?
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…Read More
Dr. Joel Cracraft – How many “kinds” of birds are there on Earth: the intersection of science and conservation policy
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
Dr. Leonardo Campagna – The genetic basis of plumage differences in the rapid capuchino seedeater radiation
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…Read More
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…Read More
Michael D. Sorenson – Contrasting Patterns of Genetic Divergence in Obligate Brood Parasites: Implications for the Genetics of Host-Specific Adaptation
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…Read More
This presentation focuses on Tom’s energetic crusade to rebuild the American Kestrel population in northeast Connecticut, from 2009 when he began, up through the 2016 breeding season. Presented on January 9, 2017.Read More
Christopher Elphick – Canaries in the Salt Marsh: The Conservation of Saltmarsh Sparrows and other Tidal Marsh Birds
This talk describes the status of tidal marsh birds throughout the northeast, and focuses on the specific threats faced by Saltmarsh Sparrows. Presented on December 5, 2016.Read More
Endemic and Endangered Birds of Bolivia. Presented November 7, 2016.Read More
Dr. Gombobaatar’s presentation covers a brief introduction to Mongolia and bird distribution in different natural habitats, species status and richness, bird research and conservation works, including Regional bird red list and conservation action plans, migration pattern, population threats, birds in wind farms, raptor breeding ecology survey, birding activities, and future actions for Mongolian bird research and conservation. Presented on October 3, 2016.Read More
Research and Teaching Ornithology at Harvard: Explorations in the New World. Presented on June 6, 2016.Read More
Vincent Spagnuolo – Restore the call: Recent advancements in Common Loon conservation through translocation and health research
Recent advancements in Common Loon conservation through translocation and health research. Presented on May 2, 2016.Read More
Ken Meyer – Seasonal Movements of Rare Florida Raptors: Ecological Intrigue and Conservation Challenges
Seasonal movements and ecology of rare Florida raptors: needs and opportunities for protecting Crested Caracaras, Snail Kites, Short-tailed Hawks, and Swallow-tailed Kites. Presented on March 7, 2016.Read More
John Bates – The Wonders and Tribulations of Africa’s Albertine Rift: Biodiversity, Science and People in a War Zone
The Wonders and Tribulations of Africa’s Albertine Rift: Biodiversity, Science and People in a War Zone. Presented on February 1, 2016.Read More
Tom discusses his work with Peregrine Falcons in the state, including the impact of raptor photography on knowledge of movements of banded birds. Tom chronicles the loss of nesting Peregrines in the state in 1955 through their current recovery to 32 nesting pairs. Presented on January 4, 2016.Read More
The focus of this presentation is a look at Colombia and its remarkable biological diversity through the eyes of a young ornithologist, and his wife, as they struggled to carry out fieldwork in the early 1970s. This is followed by a look at Colombia’s unique ornithological history, and its fledgling ecotourism of the late 1970s…Read More
Identifying the warblers and other species singing in the field is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying aspects of birding. However learning and remembering the important ID points of difficult and similar vocalizations can be challenging. This lecture will cover many new techniques that make it easier to identify singing warblers and other species.…Read More