Dr. John Marzluff – Gifts of the Crow
June 3, 2019
Crows are mischievous, playful, social, and passionate. They have brains that are huge for their body size and exhibit an avian kind of eloquence. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. And because they often live near people—in our gardens, parks, and cities—they are also keenly aware of our peculiarities, staying away from and even scolding anyone who threatens or harms them and quickly learning to recognize and approach those who care for and feed them, even giving them numerous, oddly touching gifts in return. The ongoing connection between humans and crows—a cultural co-evolution—has shaped both species for millions of years. And the characteristics of crows that allow this symbiotic relationship are language, delinquency, frolic, passion, wrath, risk-taking, and awareness—seven traits that humans find strangely familiar.
With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff tells amazing stories of these brilliant birds in Gifts of the Crow, shining a light on their fascinating characteristics and behaviors. Teamed with artist and fellow naturalist Tony Angell, they offer an in-depth look at these complex creatures and our shared behaviors, illustrated with gorgeous line drawings. Crows gather around their dead, warn of impending doom, recognize people, commit murder of other crows, lure fish and birds to their death, drink beer, turn on lights to stay warm, design and use tools, use cars as nutcrackers, windsurf and sled to play, and work in tandem to get cheese whiz out of a can. Their marvelous brains allow them to think, plan, and reconsider their actions.
With its abundance of funny, awe-inspiring, and poignant stories, Gifts of the Crow portrays creatures who are nothing short of amazing. A testament to years of painstaking research, this fully illustrated, riveting work is a thrilling look at one of nature’s most wondrous creatures.
John Marzluff, Ph.D., is Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His research has been the focus of articles in the New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon, Boys Life, The Seattle Times, and National Wildlife. PBS’s NATURE featured his raven research in its production, "Ravens," and his crow research in the film documentary, "A Murder of Crows."
Please Note: this meeting will be held at the Biological Labs Lecture Hall, Harvard University, Divinity Avenue, Cambridge
John Marzluff is James W. Ridgeway Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His graduate (Northern Arizona University) and initial post-doctoral (University of Vermont) research focused on the social behavior and ecology of jays and ravens. He was especially interested in communication, social organization, and foraging behavior (e.g., The Pinyon Jay, 1992, Academic Press). His current research brings this behavioral approach to pressing conservation issues including raptor management, management of pest species, and assessment of nest predation. His book, In the Company of Crows and Ravens (with Tony Angell, 2005 Yale U. Press) blends biology, conservation, and anthropology to suggest that human and crow cultures have co-evolved. This book won the 2006 Washington State Book Award for general nonfiction. With his wife, Colleen, he has just published Dog Days, Raven Nights (2011 Yale University Press), which combines reflection with biology and the recreational pursuit of dog sledding to show how a life in science blooms. Gifts of the Crow (2012 Free Press) applies a neurobiological perspective to understand the amazing feats of corvids. Welcome to Subirdia (2015 Yale University Press) details the urban ecology of birds, their challenges and triumphs, and how we can best conserve them. He has led studies on the effects of military training on falcons and eagles in southwestern Idaho, the effects of timber harvest, recreation, and forest fragmentation on goshawks and marbled murrelets in western Washington and Oregon, conservation strategies for Pacific Island crows, and the effects of urbanization on songbirds in the Seattle area. Dr. Marzluff has authored over 150 scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior and wildlife management. He is a member of the board of editors for Acta Ornithologica, Landscape Ecology and Ecological Applications. He has edited Avian Conservation: Research and Management that includes 40 chapters detailing research approaches to conserve avian biodiversity throughout the world (1998, Island Press), Avian Conservation and Ecology in an Urbanizing World (2001, Kluwer Academic Publishers), Radiotelemetry and Animal Populations (2001, Academic Press), Urban Ecology: An International Perspective on the Interaction Between Humans and Nature (2008, Springer), and Perspectives in Urban Ecology (2011, Springer). He is currently a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Team for the critically endangered Mariana Crow, a former member of the Washington Biodiversity Council, and a Fellow of the American Ornithologist's Union.
(NOC members, login to view and listen to presentations)
Chris Wood is Project Leader for eBird at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Chris began birding at age five and still gets into the field enough to make the rest of the Cornell staff jealous. His primary interests include bird distribution, identification, vocalizations and conservation throughout the Americas. In addition to his work at the…Read More
Since September 2008, Ernesto Inzunza, a postdoctoral fellow at the Bilology Department, Dartmouth College, has been an instructor for a course in tropical biology and will teach Methods in Ecology next summer. His research project is titled The fingerprint of climate change in hawk migration phenology. Ernesto continues to lead the Raptor Population Index Project…Read More
John Kricher (moderator), Wayne Petersen, Bob Stymeist, Jim Berry, Peter Alden, Shawn Carey, David Larson – Birding: Past, Present, and Future
John Kricher is A. Howard Meneely Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, a Fellow in the American Ornithologists Union, and member of the Science Advisory Committee of the Council of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He has previously served as president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Nuttall Ornithological Club,…Read More
Becky Harris, Ellen Jedrey – Post-breeding Staging Roseate Terns: Cape Cod and Nantucket are Critical Habitats
As Director of MassAudubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program, Becky Harris oversees the monitoring, management and protection of beach nesting birds at over 100 sites throughout southeastern Massachusetts. She also holds an adjunct faculty position at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in the Center for Conservation Medicine. Before coming to Mass Audubon in 2006, she founded…Read More
Manomet Senior Scientist Brian Harrington has been studying the distribution and coastal ecology of shorebirds since 1972, focusing on migration and southern South American wintering areas. Brian, working with hundreds of cooperators, has led research on shorebird use of coastal habitat at migration stopover sites, as well as identifying major migration sites of shorebirds throughout…Read More
Dr. Ian Newton is respected world-wide both as a biologist with a special interest and expertise in this subject and as a communicator. He is a seasoned and popular key note speaker at National and International meetings, and his talks are often the high point of conferences. He has been interested in birds since boyhood,…Read More
Dr. Carla Dove is a Research Scientist in the Department of Ornithology at the National Museum of Natural History. Her expertise is in the field of microscopic and molecular identification of feathers. She applies forensic methodologies to determine species of birds from fragmentary evidence using microscopy, whole feather comparisons with museum specimens and DNA barcoding.…Read More
Field problem presented: Glenn d’Entremont – Lack of Documentation, Quincy Christmas Count records Dr. Navjot S. Sodhi is currently a Professor of Conservation Ecology at the National University of Singapore. He received his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. He has been studying the effects of rain forest loss and degradation on Southeast Asian fauna…Read More
Field problem presented: David Small – Birds and Powerline Management in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont Francois Vuilleumier, acclaimed ornithologist and editor-in-chief of the new book Birds of North America, is Curator Emeritus of the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. Author and professor of ornithology Francois Vuilleumier was a student of Ernst…Read More
Nick Locke – REGUA—Reserva Ecológica Guapiaçu: A successful conservation project in the Atlantic rainforest of SE Brazil
Field problem presented: Kim Smith – Breeding Ecology of Early Successional Birds in Western Connecticut Nicholas Locke is president of the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA), located an hour and a half from the city of Rio de Janeiro. REGUA, a grassroots NGO, started in 1996 after a visit by a UK naturalist who saw the…Read More
Field problem presented: Soheil Zendeh – Take a Second Look (TASL) Nicholas Rodenhouse is Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College where he teaches ecology, organismal biology, conservation biology, and environmental studies. A member of the Wellesley College faculty since 1988, Professor Rodenhouse received a A.B. degree from Hope College in 1977 and an M.A. degree…Read More
Field problem presented: Steve Mirick- Extreme Pelagic Birding Luis Segura has worked in ecotourism and conservation since 1982. He has volunteered in projects oriented to preserve natural ecosystems and wildlife species in his native country, Argentina. He is a member of the Argentine branch of Birdlife International, Asociación Ornitológica del Plata. In his home city, Puerto…Read More
Field problem presented: Vern Laux – Birdquest Stephanie Koch is working towards her PhD by doing research on shorebirds and these days she is soaring in rarified air because she is the only URI student to be awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In fact Dr. Peter Paton, chair of the CELS…Read More
Field problem presented: Robert Kennedy – Nantucket Offshore Wintering Wildfowl: Possible Impacts from Offshore Sand Mining Dr. Pamela Rasmussen’s research focuses on the diversity, vocalizations, taxonomy, and conservation of the avifauna of southern Asia. She recently (2005) co-authored a two-volume book, Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide, published in April 2005. She has also worked…Read More
Field problem presented: Michael Schindlinger – Listening to the Amazon Dr. John Kricher is professor of biology at Wheaton College where he has served on the faculty for nearly forty years. He received his B.A. from Temple University and his PhD from Rutgers. In addition to Nuttall, he is a member of a number of professional…Read More
Field problem presented: Paul Roberts – Population studies of American Kestrel Rob Williams did his undergraduate work in zoology at the University of Wales in Cardiff. He obtained his doctorate at the University of East Anglia where he studied Long-eared Owls. In 1999 he moved to Ecuador where he has worked with a number of conservation…Read More
Field problem presented: Ralph Andrews – Is the Canada Goose Canadian? Dr. William E. (Ted) Davis received his B.A. from Amherst University, his M.A. from the University of Texas and his PhD in invertebrate biology from Boston University. He developed a deep interest in birds and has over the years authored over 150 papers and notes…Read More
Field problem presented: David Larson – Training naturalist guides Ed Scholes III has been researching birds of paradise in New Guinea since 1999 when he made his first trip to Papua New Guinea, and he has returned for fieldwork each year since. Ed’s research interests are primarily on the evolution of the spectacular morphological and behavioral…Read More
Field problem presented: Wayne Petersen – Slaty-backed Gull: The next Lesser Black-backed Gull? Prof. Hiroyoshi “Hito” Higuchi is professor of conservation biology and ornithology at the Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Tokyo; former president and Director of Research of the Ornithological Society of Japan; and chair of the Asian Section…Read More
Field problem presented: David Donsker – What’s in a name? Dr. Kimberly S. Bostwick is Curator of Birds and Mammals at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates and a Research Associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University in New York.Read More