PLEASE NOTE: Upcoming Nuttall monthly meetings will be held virtually until it is safe to meet in person. Details will be provided as they become available.
Bridget Stutchbury - Why Is Tropical Bird Behavior So Different?
October 3, 2022
Professor in the Department of Biology at York University, Toronto
Dr. Bridget Stutchbury explores why the tropics is a unique natural laboratory that has led to unusual and varied bird behavior compared with temperate-breeding species. A large majority of research on bird behavior has focussed on North American and European breeding birds, largely out of convenience. Over the past few decades, research on tropical birds has surged because so many species are highly threatened. It is a race against time to understand the many evolutionary quirks of tropical birds including year-round and stable territories, equal sex roles in parenting, females who sing and are brightly colored & aggressive, and males who dance together to attract females. We also are beginning to understand how behavior helps or hinders tropical birds when their forests are fragmented and their climate changes.
Bridget Stutchbury is a Professor in the Department of Biology at York University, Toronto. She did her M.Sc. at Queen’s University, her Ph.D. at Yale and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Since the 1980s, she has studied songbirds to understand their behavior, ecology and conservation but has also witnessed first-hand the shocking declines of many species such as tree swallows, bobolinks, and wood thrushes. Dr. Stutchbury has studied the behavior of tropical birds in Panama and the incredible migration journeys of North American songbirds who winter in the tropics. She is author of Silence of the Songbirds (2007) and The Private Lives of Birds (2010) and was featured in the The Messenger, an award-winning 2015 documentary on songbird declines. Her most recent book Behavioural Ecology of Tropical Birds 2nd edition (2022) was written for an academic audience, but every naturalist will delight in new discoveries.
Pete Marra - The Epic Migrations of Birds
November 7, 2022
Director of the Earth Commons: Georgetown University’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Laudato Si’ Professor in Biology and the Environment, and Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy
Migration is one of the most engaging phenomena of the animal world and one epitomized by birds. Migratory birds are the Olympiads of the natural world - traveling extreme distances, flying at night in flocks of tens of thousands of individuals, and moving through treacherous terrain with untold obstacles threatening their every move. Today, over 50% of North America’s migratory species are declining at unprecedented rates – and for most of these species we don’t know why.
Marra will take us on a hemispheric journey to discover the unknown migrations of the birds, explaining the latest technologies used for tracking and why it’s up to us to uncover the secrets of their biology to protect these marvelous species.
Pete Marra earned a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1998 and an M.S. from Louisiana State University in 1989 and is Director of the Earth Commons: Georgetown University’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Laudato Si’ Professor in Biology and the Environment, and Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy. Marra recently moved to Georgetown University after a 20-year career at the Smithsonian Institution, most recently as Director of the Migratory Bird Center. Marra uses birds to help us define and understand broad environmental issues, tackling contemporary conservation challenges by addressing fundamental knowledge gaps at the intersection of ornithology, ecology and conservation biology. His transformative work—including quantifying the loss of 3 billion birds from North America, the impacts of climate change, the astounding ecological destruction of outdoor cats and emerging diseases such as West Nile virus—explores the interaction between humans and our environment and poses critical questions to humanity about the environmental costs of urbanization and globalization. His work spans biology, engineering, physiology, and biogeochemistry, and has helped ignite new research into the study of full life cycles of migratory animals while furthering technological advances, including the use of genetics, stable isotopes and remote tracking technologies. With over 250 peer-reviewed papers, Marra uses integrative techniques and rigorous quantitative approaches, leveraging data to link fundamental ecological advances to address conservation problems and reimagine approaches that inform policy. Over 55 current and former students and his position as founding director of the Earth Commons, demonstrate Marra’s dedication to moving research to implementation and educating the next generation of diverse scientists.
Kristin Ruegg - The Bird Genoscape Project: Harnessing the power of genomics for migratory bird conservation
December 5, 2022
Assistant Professor at Colorado State University
Most populations of migratory birds are now threatened. It is estimated that the populations of 1 out of every 2 songbirds are declining in the Western Hemisphere with impacts predicted to worsen with climate change. However, because migratory birds have both breeding, migratory and wintering areas and may move vast distances between them, understanding where the steepest population declines are occurring has been difficult or impossible. In my presentation, I will describe our work to address this critical issue as part of The Bird Genoscape Project – an effort to bring together scientists from across the Western Hemisphere to map the migratory routes of migratory songbirds across the Western Hemisphere using genomics.
Kristen Ruegg is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University whose research focuses on the development of innovative genetic-based tools to conserve migratory birds in the face of climate change and other stressors. Ruegg is also the co-founder and co-director of the Bird Genoscape Project whose main goals are: 1) to create comprehensive, visually impactful, migratory flyway maps for birds that can be used to motivate conservation efforts across geographic and political boundaries, and 2) to map the potential for bird populations to adapt to climate change. Ruegg’s presentation will focus on the use of data from the Bird Genoscape Project to understand the process of natural selection across the annual cycle. When not overseeing research as part of the Bird Genoscape Project, Ruegg can be found working to bridge partnerships between academia, NGO’s and governmental agencies across the US, Canada and Latin America in order to translate the science of the Bird Genoscape Project into conservation action.
(NOC members, login to view and listen to presentations)
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
John O’Neill – Recipe for peparing a guide to one of the largest avifaunas in the world: The case for Peru
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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.Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking. https://vimeo.com/198576752Read More