Upcoming Programs

Luis M. Chiappe – Birding in the Age of Dinosaurs: Advances in Understanding Early Avian Evolution

March 2, 2020

Senior Vice President, Research & Collections
Gretchen Augustyn Director, Dinosaur Institute
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

A tremendous amount of new fossils of early birds from the Age of the Dinosaurs has been unearthed in the last few decades. In his lecture, Dr. Chiappe will review the many new discoveries related to the early evolution of birds, and how these developments help us understand the origin of the unique attributes of living birds. Chiappe will show stunning examples of birds with long bony tails, teeth, and wing claws, and explain how these fossils bring clarity to the 150 million-year-long evolutionary saga of birds.

As the head of the Research and Collections Department of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMNLAC), Dr. Chiappe oversees the research programs of more than 25 PhD scientists and the vast biological, geological, and cultural collections of NHMLAC. A vertebrate paleontologist and the Gretchen Augustyn Director of the Museum's Dinosaur Institute, Dr. Chiappe has conducted extensive research on the evolution of dinosaurs, from their reproductive behavior to their evolutionary connection with birds. He is considered to be one of the world's authorities on the early evolution of birds. One other important focus of his is science communication, conveying the relevance of NHMLAC's scientists' discoveries to the media, the public, and Museum visitors.

Chiappe's commitment to public communication is reflected in the Museum's Jane G. Pisano Dinosaur Hall, an award-winning permanent exhibition that he curated about the nature of science and the lives of dinosaurs, as well as in his many popular books and articles. Chiappe¹s research has been published in more than 180 scholarly articles. He is the author of Walking on Eggs, Glorified Dinosaurs, and Birds of Stone. He is also a J. S. Guggenheim Fellow, a Humboldt Awardee, and a professor at the University of Southern California.

Jennie Duberstein – Working across borders to conserve birds and habitats in the southwest US and northwest Mexico

April 6, 2020

Sonoran Joint Venture Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The southwest United States and northwest Mexico is a region of incredible biological diversity, as well as human diversity. Birds and habitats don't recognize international boundaries, and neither can our efforts to conserve then. Successful conservation requires cross-border collaboration that takes into account not just the biological needs, but also the social needs of the region. The Sonoran Joint Venture is a binational partnership the works to conserve the unique birds and habitats of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Join Dr. Jennie Duberstein, Sonoran Joint Venture Coordinator, to learn how the SJV brings together partners from both sides of the border to develop and implement innovative mechanisms to address the biggest conservation priorities of the region and ensure a healthy landscape for birds, other wildlife, and people.

Dr. Jennie Duberstein is a wildlife biologist and conservation social scientist who has spent her professional career working to build partnerships for bird and habitat conservation across the United States and northwest Mexico. She has directed environmental education programs, developed community-based conservation projects in the U.S.-Mexico border region, developed and taught courses and workshops on bird identification, ecotourism, and bird monitoring, and has studied species including Double-crested Cormorant and wading birds in Sonora and Yellow-billed Cuckoos in Arizona. Jennie has also worked with young birders for many years, directing field courses, summer camps, and conferences, and generally helping to connect young people with opportunities and each other. Jennie received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Virginia Tech and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Gabrielle Nevitt – Following the Scent of Avian Olfaction

May 4, 2020

Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
University of California, Davis

When John James Audubon proclaimed that birds lacked a sense of smell, the study of avian olfaction was doomed to suffer ridicule by ornithology text books for years to come. In recent years, ornithologists have renewed their interest into the sense of smell in birds leading to a new appreciation of their chemical ecology. The tubenosed seabirds (petrels and albatrosses) of the order Procellariiformes have among the most impressive olfactory abilities of any animal on earth. Species within this order spend most of their lives flying over the world’s oceans, returning to land each year or every other year, to breed and rear a single offspring. They tend to partner for life and show strong nest-site fidelity between breeding seasons. Much of my research career has focused on elucidating how procellariform species use olfaction to perform behaviors ranging from foraging and navigation to mate choice and individual recognition. My presentation will touch on some of our recent findings and hopefully convince you that olfaction is a rich field of study, and that questions related to sensory ecology are both important and applicable to scientific inquiry into the biology and conservation.

Gabrielle Nevitt is a leader in the field of vertebrate Chemical Ecology and has conducted pioneering research in the sense of smell in birds, focussing on procellariform seabirds. She graduated from Stanford University, received her PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington, and did postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. She has been a professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis for 24 years. She lives with her family on a rural property with various birds including emus.

Gail Patricelli – Robots, Telemetry, & the Sex Lives of Wild Birds Using technology to study & protect an enigmatic bird

June 1, 2020

Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology
University of California, Davis

Animals use a dizzying array of sounds, smells, colors, dances, electrical fields and seismic vibrations to convince each other to mate. These elaborate courtship signals were a mystery until Darwin’s time—after proposing his theory of natural selection, Darwin was left with the question of how the flamboyant peacock could be shaped by the same process that makes the peahen so perfectly camouflaged. There is now strong support for Darwin’s answer to this question, the process he termed sexual selection, proposing that the courting sex must be elaborate because the courted sex demands it. But how can we study the conversations males and females in non-human animals have about mating? One way to do this is to participate, controlling one side of the conversation with a robot. Gail Patricelli will talk about using robotic females and other technology to study courtship behaviors in the greater sage-grouse, and how such research informs conservation of this iconic North American bird and its habitat.

Gail Patricelli is a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis. Professor Patricelli and members of her lab study bioacoustics, the evolution of breeding behaviors, and the impacts of noise pollution on birds.

Past Programs

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Harry Vogel – The State of the Loon

April 1, 2013

Harry Vogel received his BES degree in environment and resource studies and biology from the University of Waterloo, ON, in 1990 and his MSc degree in zoology from University of Guelph, ON, in 1995. In his professional career he has been Project Biologist and Coordinator for Canadian Lakes Loon Survey for Bird Studies, Canada; Trustee,…

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George L. Armistead – pOrnithology: The Birds…and the Birds and the Bees

March 4, 2013

George Armistead, who has been birding for nearly thirty years, hails from Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, Laura, in center city. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and completed both a B.A. and an M.A. in environmental studies. He worked for seven years in the ornithology department of the Academy of Natural Sciences…

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Cagan Sekercioglu – Conserving Birds Around the World: From Species to Landscapes and People.

February 4, 2013

Cagan Sekercioglu B.A. 1997, Anthropology, Harvard University B.A. 1997, Biology, Harvard University. Project: The effects of logging-based habitat modification on the vegetation structure and forest bird communities of the Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda Ph.D. 2003, Department of Biology – Ecology, Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology. Project: Causes and Consequences of Bird Extinctions Associate…

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Doug Hitchcox – Monhegan Island

December 3, 2012

Doug Hitchcox is a 2011 graduate of University of Maine in Orono. He is currently Maine Audubon store manager at the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center.

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Ann M. Haynes-Sutton, PhD – Streamertails, Orangequits and Redstarts: 325 Years of Ornithology in Jamaica

November 5, 2012

Ann Haynes-Sutton, conservation ecologist and ornithologist, is the senior author of A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of Jamaica published by Princeton Press in 2009. She owns and manages Marshall’s Pen, a private nature reserve and one of the premier birding locations in Jamaica, and leads bird tours. Her other interests include working on…

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John Fitzpatrick – Reflections on American Ornithology, Past, Present, and Future

October 1, 2012

John Fitzpatrick became the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in August 1995. He received his BA from Harvard in 1974 and a PhD from Princeton in 1978. From 1988 to 1995, John was executive director and senior research biologist at the Archbold Biological Station. From 1978 to 1988 he was…

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Richard L. Soffer, MD – Collecting Ornithological Books: A Personal Odyssey

June 4, 2012

Richard Soffer, retired professor of Molecular Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, collected a remarkable and extensive series of ornithological books that span the centuries from the late Renaissance to modern times, with particular attention to works that feature the various methods and techniques that have been used to reproduce…

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Edson Endrigo – Endemic, Endangered and Elusive Birds of Brazil

May 7, 2012

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Edson Endrigo started to watch birds at an early age on his grandfather’s farm. He has been a professional bird photographer since 1995, specializing in rare, threatened or little known species. Edson has successfully published nine photographic books of birds of various regions of Brazil. He started his career as…

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Denver Holt – Breeding Ecology of Snowy Owls

April 2, 2012

Denver Holt, a graduate of the University of Montana, is founder and president of the Owl Research Institute (ORI), a nonprofit organization located in Charlo, Montana. A dedicated field researcher in North and Central America, Holt believes that long-term field studies are the primary means to understanding trends in natural history. In 2000, he was…

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Alexander (“Sasha”) Keyel – Habitat Selection in Grassland Birds

March 5, 2012

Alexander “Sasha” Keyel protects birds and the places they live. With the possible exception of Homer Simpson, there are few people who can say that doughnuts played an important role in their lives. Sasha is one of these people. “Growing up, my father would take my siblings and me bird watching,” says Keyel, a Tufts biology…

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Richard Crossley – Past, Present and Future—A Story Told in a Yorkshire Brogue Through a Camera Lens that Loves Color and Art

February 6, 2012
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Mark A. Pokras – Birding with a Wildlife Veterinarian

January 9, 2012

As head of the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine’s Wildlife Clinic, environmental crusader Mark Pokras teaches his students to view veterinary medicine through a conservation lens – and to communicate the message that human, animal and environmental health are interlinked.

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Mark Faherty – The Cape Cod Osprey Project: Voyeuristic Citizen Science

December 5, 2011

Mark Faherty has been the Science Coordinator at Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary since August of 2007. While his current projects involve everything from oysters and horseshoe crabs to bats and butterflies, he has studied primarily bird ecology for the last 16 years, working on research projects in Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Mexico, the…

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Andrés Bosso – Aves Argentinas: 95 Years of Protecting Birds and their Habitats in the Other Side of the Americas

October 3, 2011

Andrés Bosso has been working on behalf of bird conservation for more than 25 years. In 1996 he began working for Aves Argentinas, a partner of BirdLife International. From 1996 to 2010 he was the CEO of this prestigious NGO, which was founded in 1916. Bosso is a member of the Global Council of BirdLife…

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Lisa Sorenson – Conservation in the Caribbean: Challenges, Successes and Urgent Needs

June 6, 2011

Lisa Sorenson, Research Assistant and Professor of Biology at Boston University and President, West Indian Whistling-Duck Working Group of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology, received her PhD in conservation biology, behavioral ecology, and hormonal mechanisms of behavior in birds at University of Minnesota in 1990. Sorenson’s recent research addresses the potential effects of global warming…

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Bret Whitney – Birds of Brazil and Peru: New Birds and Old Places

May 2, 2011

Bret Whitney is one of the founders of Field Guides, a Research Associate of the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, an Associate of the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell, 2004 recipient of the ABA’s Ludlow Griscom award, and an eternal optimist about everything except Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. Bret guides many Brazil tours and,…

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Ted Floyd – Birding at Night

April 4, 2011

Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding, the flagship publication of the American Birding Association. He has published widely on birds and ecological topics. Ted has written more than 125 articles, with contributions to scholarly journals such as Ecology, Oecologia, Animal Behaviour, Journal of Animal Ecology, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution and contributions to…

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Scott Weidensaul – Birds of a Feather

March 7, 2011

Born in 1959, Scott Weidensaul has lived almost all of his life among the long ridges and endless valleys of eastern Pennsylvania, in the heart of the central Appalachians, a landscape that has defined much of his work. His writing career began in 1978 with a weekly natural history column in the local newspaper, the…

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Kurk Dorsey – Of Mallards and Men

February 7, 2011

Kurk Dorsey, Associate Professor of History, University of New Hampshire, received his BA at Cornell University, his MA at Northwestern University and his PhD at Yale. His current fields of research are US foreign policy, environmental history and history of Canada. Professor Dorsey approaches the history of the environmental movement’s signal law, the migratory bird…

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Joey Mason – Kestrels and Cranberries

January 3, 2011

Joey Mason is a master bander who has been involved in several raptor-related projects over the years. She has been researching Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and American Kestrels around cranberry bogs in southeastern Massachusetts since 1989.

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