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

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

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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Alvaro Jaramillo – Birds, Birding, and the Field Guide to Chile

October 4, 2010

Alvaro (Al) Jaramillo was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, Canada, where he lived as a youth. He studied ecology and evolution in Toronto and Vancouver, earning a masters degree studying co-evolution in Argentine cowbirds. Research forays and backpacking trips introduced Alvaro to the riches of the Neotropics, where he has traveled extensively.…

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Joan Walsh – Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas II

June 7, 2010

Joan Walsh is the Coordinator of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2, and has been working with Mass Audubon since 2006. Her interests are in the interaction between landscapes and bird communities, and in bird breeding behavior. During the 1990s Joan was the Director of Research at New Jersey Audubon Society where she coordinated their…

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David Bird – The American Kestrel: The White Mouse for Raptor Research?

May 3, 2010

Professor of Wildlife Biology and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Dr. DavidBird’s main research interest is focused on raptorial birds, which encompasses virtually all aspects of their biology. He has at his disposal a captive colony of 200 or more American Kestrels. He collaborates with other scientists…

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Chris Wood, Jessie Barry – Learning & Recording Bird Songs

April 5, 2010

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…

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Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza – The State of North American Raptors

March 1, 2010

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…

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John Kricher (moderator), Wayne Petersen, Bob Stymeist, Jim Berry, Peter Alden, Shawn Carey, David Larson – Birding: Past, Present, and Future

February 1, 2010

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,…

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Becky Harris, Ellen Jedrey – Post-breeding Staging Roseate Terns: Cape Cod and Nantucket are Critical Habitats

January 4, 2010

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…

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Brian Harrington – Knots in Massachusetts

December 7, 2009

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…

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Ian Newton – Findings from a Long-term Study of Sparrowhawks

November 2, 2009

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,…

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Carla J. Dove – Bird-Aircraft Strike Hazards

October 5, 2009

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.…

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Navjot S. Sodhi – Southeast Asian Forest Birds: Losses, Threats and Conservation

June 1, 2009

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…

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François Vuilleumier – Ernst Mayr, Scientist and Mentor: Does One Live Up to Genius?

May 4, 2009

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…

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Nick Locke – REGUA—Reserva Ecológica Guapiaçu: A successful conservation project in the Atlantic rainforest of SE Brazil

April 6, 2009

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…

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Nicholas Rodenhouse – Effects of Climate Change on Migratory Birds

February 2, 2009

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…

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Luis Segura – Argentina: 1000 Birds, and More

December 1, 2008

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…

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Stephanie Koch – Shorebirds and People: Studying Seasonal Mudflat use at Monomoy NWR

November 3, 2008

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…

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Pamela Rasmussen – History and Mystery: Reevaluating Avian Diversity in South Asia

October 6, 2008

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…

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John Kricher – Speciation in Neotropical Passerines

June 2, 2008

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…

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