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.

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.

Patrick Jodice – Searching Sea and Land for the Little Devil: The Ecology and Conservation of the Black-capped Petrel

January 4, 2021

Leader of the U.S. Geological Survey South Carolina Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and a Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University

The Black-capped Petrel or Diablotin, Pterodroma hasitata, is an endangered seabird endemic to the western North Atlantic. Once thought extinct it was rediscovered in 1963 when nests were located in the Massif de la Selle of southeastern Haiti. The species has a fragmented and declining population estimated at ca. 1,000 breeding pairs, nesting in underground burrows in steep ravines with dense understory vegetation. The only confirmed breeding sites (~100) are located in the mountain ranges of Hispaniola, where habitat loss and degradation are continuing threats. At sea, most of what is known about the range of the species is based on observations from vessel-based surveys in the Atlantic which primarily places the distribution between ~ 30 - 40 degrees latitude and west of the Gulf stream. Our lab has been conducting research on Black-capped Petrels since 2014 to better understand their ecology and contribute to conservation efforts. This presentation will review recent and ongoing research focused on satellite tracking birds in the Atlantic, improving models of nesting habitat in the Caribbean, and improving our understanding of the distribution of this species in the Gulf of Mexico, an area previously thought to be outside of its marine range.

Dr. Patrick Jodice is the Leader of the U.S. Geological Survey South Carolina Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and a Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University. He has conducted research on seabirds and coastal birds for 20+ years in the southeastern US, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Northwest, and Gulf of Alaska. His research focuses primarily on reproductive ecology, energetics, and foraging ecology. Current projects include Tracking Atlantic and Caribbean Seabirds (TRACS), investigating the spatial and reproductive ecology of brown pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, and examining distribution, abundance, and ecological relationships of marine birds in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species. Dr. Jodice is currently Chair of the World Seabird Union and a member of the Steering Committee for the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network. He has degrees from the University of Maine (BS), University of Florida (MS) and Oregon State University (Ph.D.). His research is available at www.atlanticseabirds.org and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Patrick_JodiceFebruary

Jennifer Gill - Space, time and bird migration: shifting systems in a changing world

February 1, 2021

Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK

Migratory bird populations are undergoing rapid changes at present. Shifts in the timing of migration and breeding, and in range and abundance, are being reported in migratory systems across the globe. However, how and why these changes are happening remains unclear. Since the mid-1990s, we have been colour-ringing and tracking individual Icelandic black-tailed godwits on their migratory journeys across western Europe, with the help of a network of citizen scientists. Icelandic godwits have undergone remarkable increases in population and range size and advances in migratory timings in recent decades, and we have used our lifelong tracking of individuals to explore how and why these changes have occurred. These findings have revealed the role that climate change can play in driving change in migratory systems, and why these effects are often more commonly observed in short-distance than long-distance migrant species.

Dr Jennifer Gill is Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK. Her research focusses on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds, with a particular focus on (and passion for) shorebirds. She currently serves as Chair of Board of the British Trust for Ornithology and has previously served as President of the British Ornithologists' Union.

Tomas Carlo - Effects of avian frugivory in the structure and resilience of plant communities

March 1, 2021

Associate Professor of Biology & Ecology at Penn State University, and associate researcher in the ecology department at the Museo de Historia Natural of the San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru

Birds are the quintessential frugivores (fruit-eaters) that mutualistically disperse the seeds of a myriad plant species that in turn help nourish them. In so doing, birds directly and indirectly influence important community and ecosystem-level processes with broad implications such as forest regeneration dynamics, carbon dynamics, and the expansion of niches. In this lecture I will discuss the factors influencing fruit choices, and the consequences of such behavioral patterns to tropical plant communities. Specifically, I will examine how morphological, physiological, and behavioral factors shape avian frugivory and seed dispersal on Neotropical landscapes that have been fragmented by deforestation. Our results show that generalist birds usually normally classified as "insectivores" are critical to trigger a speedy forest regeneration and the recovery of plant diversity on tropical landscapes that have been affected by human activities and habitat destruction.

Dr. Tomas Carlo is Associate Professor of Biology & Ecology at Penn State University, and associate researcher in the ecology department at the Museo de Historia Natural of the San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru. He is an evolutionary ecologist studying how processes of avian frugivory and seed dispersal shape communities and their resilience. He is native to Puerto Rico, where he started bird watching and nature photography as a child in the mid 80’s. He has conducted most of his work in Puerto Rico, but recently expanded his work to South America (Peru, Brazil, & Argentina) and the Dominican Republic. His main research encompasses studies of the influence of fruit resources on habitat quality for birds, the relationship between fruit preferences and seed dispersal services of birds, and more recently, on the effects of bird seed dispersal on the assembly of successional forests. He has pioneered the developed of stable-isotope marking for study if seed dispersal at large scales. Carlo has also studied the relationship between bird movements and landscape heterogeneity using models and experiments, and the effects of reductions and losses of seabird colonies to the high-order ecological interactions in the terrestrial ecosystem of Mona island. He serves in the editorial boards of Biotropica and Oecologia as Associate Editor and Handling Editor respectively.

Gabrielle Nevitt - Following the scent of avian olfaction

April 5, 2021

Professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC 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.

Dr. Gabrielle Nevitt is a leader in the field of vertebrate Chemical Ecology and has conducted pioneering research in the sense of smell in birds, focusing 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.

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

May 3, 2021

Coordinator, Sonoran Joint Venture, USFWS

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

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

June 7, 2021

Professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis

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.

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. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Art from Whitman College and PhD from the University of Maryland, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

Past Programs

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

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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Rob Williams – Avian Endemism in Peru

May 5, 2008

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…

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William E. (Ted) Davis – Tasmania: A Study in Evolution

April 7, 2008

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…

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Edwin Scholes III – Courtship, evolution, and natural history of New Guinea’s Birds of Paradise

March 3, 2008

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…

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Hiroyoshi “Hito” Higuchi – Ecology of bird migration in East Asia

February 4, 2008

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…

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Kim Bostwick – Evolution of wing sounds in the Manakins (Pipridae)

December 3, 2007

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.

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John O’Neill – Recipe for peparing a guide to one of the largest avifaunas in the world: The case for Peru

November 5, 2007

Field problem presented: Tom French – Peregrine Falcon recovery in NY and NE Dr John P. O’Neill is research associate at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. He is the discoverer of more bird species (13) new to science than any other living person. He is also a wildlife painter and coauthor of the…

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Ian Nisbet – From eggs to senescence: Long-term studies of Common Terns

October 1, 2007

Field problem presented: Peter Alden – Central and South American bird field guides Ian Nisbet, NOC member since 1975, is an independent tern researcher who has been the primary monitor for the Roseate Tern and Common Tern colonies in Buzzard’s Bay, particularly at Bird Island. Dr Nisbet was born in the UK and received his PhD…

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Richard O. Prum – The evolution of feathers

June 4, 2007

Field problem presented: Brian Cassie – Does Massachusetts end? Professor Richard Prum, Curator of Ornithology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, is an evolutionary ornithologist with broad interests in diverse topics, including phylogenetics, behavior, feathers, structural color, evolution and development, sexual selection, and historical biogeography. His recent research…

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Peter Vickery – Grasslands of the Americas

May 7, 2007

Field problem presented: Ron Lockwood – Grasshopper Sparrow demographics at Fort Devens After working for Massachusetts Audubon, Peter Vickery founded the Center for Ecological Research, a non-profit organization in Maine. It is devoted to conservation and ecological research. He is also on the faculties of University of Massachusetts and University of Maine. Peter did his PhD…

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Herb Raffaele – Saving Caribbean birds

April 2, 2007

Field problem presented: Ted Davis – Reporting bird behavior Dr. Herb Raffaele, Chief of the International Division of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, received his degrees in wildlife conservation and ecology from the State University of New York in 1983. He has published often on wildlife conservation and is responsible for the creation of education…

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H. Doug Pratt – Hawaiian honeycreepers

March 5, 2007

Field problem presented: Jim Berry – Nesting birds H. Doug Pratt is currently research curator at North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. He received his PhD in biology at LSU in 1969. He began studying Hawaiian honeycreepers 30 years ago and has expanded his research into endemic birds of Pacific Ocean islands.

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Tim Laman – Birds of paradise

February 5, 2007

Field problem presented: Wayne Petersen – We can’t be too careful Tim Laman has been working in New Guinea, collaborating with Edwin Scolz. Tim received his PhD in evolutionary biology at Harvard in 1994. He began working in Borneo and became a regular contributor to National Geographic. The work presented was a preview of an article…

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Dick Veit – Vagrancy

December 4, 2006

Field problem presented: Ian Nisbet – Roseate Terns Dick Veit received his undergraduate degree in biology at UMass Boston and his graduate degree at University of California at Irvine. He is currently professor of biology at College of Staten Island. He has published 44 publications and 1 book (Birds of Massachusetts with Wayne Petersen), mentors 14…

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Simon Perkins – Cape Wind

November 6, 2006

Simon Perkins is field ornithologist with Massachusetts Audubon Society. He began researching Cape Wind and its proposed wind turbines in Nantucket Sound approximately 4 years ago and presented the up-to-the minute results of his research to the Club.

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Reuven Yosef – Eilat

October 2, 2006

Reuven Yosef has worked at the Raptor Research Center in Eilat, Israel, since 1984 and has been the director since 1993. He received his PhD at Ohio State University and conducted his post-doc work on shrikes at Florida’s Archibald Research Center. He has been involved in developing educational programs on raptors, primarily in the Old…

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Dr. John Kricher: The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking

December 2, 2002

The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking. https://vimeo.com/198576752

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