Upcoming Programs

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.

Past Programs

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

Tim Laman – Ornithological Adventures in Australia’s Cape York Peninsula

October 5, 2015

In the last couple years, Tim has made several expeditions to the Cape York Peninsula, Australia, photographing, filming, and doing biodiversity survey expeditions, focusing a lot around birds.  It is an area the size of Florida with less than 2000 people (compared to 20 million in FL). His longest expedition was a six-week trip by…

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Mario Cohn-Haft – Birds of the Amazon Revisited: Haffer’s Legacy 40 years Later

June 1, 2015

Nuttall Ornithological Club’s publication number 14 elaborated, in 1974, the most complete and carefully thought-out explanation for the marvelous patterns of distribution of Amazonian birds that has been proposed to this day. Its author, Jurgen Haffer, made a brilliant contribution to the field of South American biogeography that continues to be a powerful influence. But…

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Peter Pyle – Discovering and Conserving Bryan’s Shearwater

May 4, 2015

Bryan’s Shearwater (Puffinus bryani), was described as new to science by Pyle, A. J. Welch, and R. C. Fleischer in 2011, based on a specimen collected in February 1963 on Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Peter will recount discovery of the new species and it’s etymology (named after his grandfather, long-time curator at the Bishop…

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Allison Shultz – History of the House Finch: Introductions, Novel Pathogens and Rapid Adaptation

April 6, 2015

Human-mediated introductions of species into new environments are common today with the ease of global travel, whether they be accidental or intentional. It is critical to understand the genetic effects these introductions have on the new populations as they adapt to their environment and face novel challenges, including diseases. The House Finch, a species native…

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David Wiley / Kevin Powers – Preliminary Results of Great Shearwater Habitat Use in and around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

March 2, 2015

Dr. David Wiley and Kevin Powers will discuss their research on Great Shearwaters. For the past three years the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary’s science team and collaborators have placed satellite tags on Great Shearwaters to investigate patterns of habitat use, long range movements and bycatch in commercial fisheries. The team is also investigating food…

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Roni Martinez – Neotropical Raptor Research & Conservation

February 3, 2015

Roni Martinez was born in Belize and has always been submersed in nature. He worked as a natural history guide at Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize from 2004 until mid-2014. In 2009, he became Blancaneaux’s first Conservation Officer, the first such position in Belize. In this position, he worked along with many different researchers and conservation…

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Kim Peters – How Airfields in the Northeast Can Provide Benefits to Grassland Birds, Maintain Aircraft Safety and Support Broad-scale Conservation for Declining Species

January 5, 2015

Species associated with grasslands and other open spaces represent one of the most imperiled and rapidly declining groups of birds in North America.  The Northeastern U.S. is increasingly being recognized as an important source of breeding habitat.  For grasshopper sparrows, upland sandpipers, and eastern meadowlarks, airfields provide the some of the largest breeding sites in…

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Jeff Gordon – How Birding Can Save Your Life and Maybe, Just Maybe, Save the World

December 1, 2014

Alvaro Jaramillo has said that if golf is a good walk spoiled, then birding is a good walk perfected.  It’s such a simple, compelling, positive message.  But that positivity is something that birders as a community have relatively rarely managed to convey.  Why is it that with as great a “product” to sell as the…

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Shiloh Schulte – Arctic Shorebirds of Coats Island, Canada

November 3, 2014

Each year tiny Semipalmated Sandpipers and their larger relatives make a tremendously difficult trip from their South American wintering grounds to their breeding territories in the Arctic.  In recent years the eastern population of Semipalmated Sandpipers has declined sharply and  Manomet scientists set out to discover why.  Traveling to a remote field camp on Coats…

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Jennifer Mortensen – The White-Breasted Thrasher: An Endangered, Cooperative Breeder

October 6, 2014

The White-breasted Thrasher, described as a “very rare bird” by James Bond in 1928, continues to be rare today.  We have been studying White-breasted Thrasher demography and cooperative behavior at the stronghold of its Saint Lucian distribution, the site of recent, significant habitat loss.  Here I will present on the species’ natural history, our ongoing…

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Andrew Vitz – Why are Songbirds so Hard to Locate in Midsummer: An Examination of the Post-fledging Period

June 2, 2014

Andrew Vitz, who is from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin and his MS and PhD from Ohio State University, studying the post-fledging ecology of forest songbirds. Dr Vitz worked four years as an avian ecologist for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pennsylvania before being appointed Massachusetts State Ornithologist…

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Robert M. Zink – Sisyphean Evolution in Darwin’s Finches

May 5, 2014

Robert M. Zink, leading scholar in avian evolution, holds the Breckenridge Chair in Ornithology and has served as Curator of Birds at the Bell Museum of Natural History and as Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. Dr Zink earned his BS at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1977 and his…

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Mia Revels – Natural History of the Swainson’s Warbler

April 7, 2014

Dr. Mia Revels, an associate professor of biology at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, has risen to the challenge of assessing the status of Swainson’s Warbler in Oklahoma. Revels’ was an undergraduate at Northeastern State and received her degree in natural sciences and science education. She then earned a Master of Science in natural…

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Robert McCracken Peck – Audubon in the West

March 3, 2014

Robert McCracken Peck, Senior Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, is a writer, naturalist and historian who has traveled extensively in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. He served as Special Assistant to the Academy’s President and Director of the Academy’s Natural History Museum before being named Fellow of the…

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Diego Calderón-Franco – Colombia: A Plethora of Birds New to Science

February 3, 2014

Diego Calderón-Franco was born in Medellín, Colombia and studied biology at the Universidad de Antioquia. He has been involved in exploring poorly-known, remote areas in the Neotropics with an emphasis on Colombia. He has been active in central Andes exploration and bird survey work, several audio recording projects, and research on manakin display behavior in…

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Gerrit Vyn – Chasing a Unicorn: Expeditions to Capture the First Comprehensive Media of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper

January 6, 2014

Also see: supplementary video Gerrit Vyn is a Seattle-based photographer deeply committed to conservation and connecting people more intimately with the myriad creatures sharing this miraculous and fragile planet. His work often focuses on birds because they are powerful and visible indicators of environmental health and change. Gerrit’s images have been used by most major…

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Carol R. Foss, PhD – The Rusty Blackbird: Elusive Denizen of Northern Wetlands

December 2, 2013

Carol Foss, Director of Conservation at Audubon Society of New Hampshire, holds a B.A. in Biology from Colby College, a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine. Carol has served NH Audubon in a variety of capacities for more than 30 years, beginning…

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Fletcher Smith – Satellite Tracking and Full Life-cycle Ecology of the Whimbrel

November 4, 2013

Fletcher Smith, research biologist at The Center for Conservation Biology, William and Mary College , Virginia, works with a diversity of bird species throughout the western hemisphere, following migrants from their breeding to winter grounds. His current research projects include work with Whimbrels, Red Knots, marsh sparrows and neotropical migrants. In addition, he conducts breeding…

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Rick Wright – Biodiversity: A Good Thing, Apparently

October 7, 2013

A Nebraskan by birth, Rick Wright attended University of Nebraska in the late 1970s. While in college he served as assistant to Paul A. Johnsgard; Rick was given the job of reorganizing the bird skin collection at the university museum. In 1983 Rick enrolled at Harvard Law School briefly, and then embarked on a graduate…

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Marja Bakermans – Breeding Bird Response to Forest Management: Developing Guidelines for Two Imperiled Species

June 3, 2013

Marja H. Bakermans B.S. Biology: Bucknell University M.S. Natural Resources: The Ohio State University Ph. D. Natural Resources: The Ohio State University Currently: Assitant Biology Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Marja writes: I possess a strong commitment to student education, and a goal of mine is to stimulate students’ critical thinking and problem solving abilities. I…

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