Upcoming Programs

PLEASE NOTE: Upcoming Nuttall monthly meetings will be held virtually until it is safe to meet in person. Details will be provided to members as they become available.

Tim Birkhead - How we know what we know about birds

April 4, 2022

Fellow of the Royal Society and emeritus professor of behaviour and evolution at the University of Sheffield

We take so much for granted when it comes to birds, but where did our knowledge come from? Although people had been intrigued by birds since the palaeolithic, it was only with the scientific revolution the mid 1600s that a more certain ornithological knowledge began to emerge. This was thanks to the labours of two English pioneers, John Ray and Francis Willughby. Both scholars, but they could hardly have been more different: Ray careful and precise, Willughby the lateral thinker asking questions no one had preciously broached. The result of this extraordinary and exciting collaboration was an encyclopedia of ornithology that became the gold standard for over two centuries and provided the foundation on which all subsequent knowledge of birds rests. Their journey is our journey. We will travel across Europe as our two heroes, visiting other savants, libraries, museums and seabird colonies — including one, Skomer Island, Wales, where I have studied seabirds for the last fifty years.

 

Tim Birkhead is a Fellow of the Royal Society and emeritus professor of behaviour and evolution at the University of Sheffield. His research on promiscuity and sperm competition in birds helped to re-shape our understanding of bird mating systems. More recently, he and his colleagues also resolved the longstanding mystery of the guillemot’s pear-shaped egg: see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-189LIYa0Y&t=7s Tim has been president of the International Society for Behavioural Ecology and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. He has studied guillemots — mainly on Skomer — since 1972 and has funded the annual monitoring of guillemot breeding success and survival on Skomer through crowd funding since 2014. As well as a passion for research, Tim enjoyed undergraduate teaching for which he won several national awards. He is also committed to the public understanding of science and has written several popular science books, including the award-winning Wisdom of Birds (2008), Bird Sense (2012) and The Most Perfect Thing: the Inside (and Outside) of a Birds’ Egg (2016), the last two of which were short-listed for the Royal Society’s Insight Investment Book Award. He is married and has three children and a dog, and in his spare time enjoys walking, birdwatching, playing the guitar, woodcarving, and painting. He is currently writing Birds and Us — our relationship with birds from the palaeolithic to the present.

 

Allan Strong - The Bobolink Project: Payments for Ecosystem Services to Conserve Grassland Birds

May 2, 2022

Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont

In response to continent-wide population declines in the suite of birds that nest in agricultural habitats, we initated a payment for ecosystem services program called The Bobolink Project. Beginning in Rhode Island and expanding to Vermont, the project employed a novel approach, where crowd-sourced pledges for ecosystem services were matched with landowner bids. Hayfield owners with nesting habitat for grassland birds were invited to participate in a uniform price auction to adopt “bird-friendly” haying practices in exchange for compensation. Simultaneously, private citizens were asked to engage in an innovative pledging process where funds would be used to compensate landowners. After three pilot seasons supported by a research grant, the project administration transitioned to Audubon Societies and expanded to include Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York. Currently the program enrolls 1,000 acres/year and supports over 250 pairs of Bobolinks on enrolled fields in the Northeast. The success of the project suggests that this approach may be appropriate in other contexts where targeted ecosystem services include flagship species and landowner-sellers can enter into contracts to deliver clearly-defined outcomes valued by donors.

Dr. Allan Strong is a Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the factors that influence habitat quality for birds. Much of this work involves quantifying the factors that influence food availability; although, some of his recent research looks at the effects of anthropogenic habitat (e.g., ski resorts, urbanization, and agricultural habitats) modification on bird populations. His current research emphasis is on grassland bird populations in the Champlain Valley.

 

 

Lauryn Benedict - Divas in the treetops: When and why do female birds sing?

June 6, 2022

Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado

Female bird song is more common and widespread than is generally appreciated. In this presentation Dr. Lauryn Benedict will give an overview of female bird song prevalence and variety. She will discuss what we can learn by studying the songs of female birds, and invite citizen scientists to help advance the field.

Lauryn Benedict is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. She studies the vocalizations and behavior of wild birds, and she teaches courses on ornithology and animal diversity. Lauryn holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley. You can often find her observing and audio-recording wrens on the public lands of Colorado.

 

Past Programs

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

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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Henry Lumsden – Restoration of Trumpeter Swans

December 6, 2010

Henry Lumsden was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and grew up in Aberdeenshire. He joined the RAF in 1941 were he was trained as a pilot and served as a flying instructor. After the war he joined the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests (later renamed Ministry of Natural Resources) as a biologist. He has intensely…

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Drew Wheelan – Beyond Deepwater: Examining the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Lessons Learned

November 1, 2010

Drew Wheelan, who grew up in southern Rhode Island, graduated from Evergreen State College in 1996 and since then has worked with birds throughout the United States, Amazonian Peru and Ecuador, as well as Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico. A fight with a life threatening illness lent to him a fresh perspective on life and…

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