I published an opinion piece in Scientific American (May 3, 2021) about European starlings where I touch on topics such as: the lack of evidence for the Shakespeare connection, damage to farms, disease spread, the privilege of park going, and the health benefits of spending time in nature (with birds):
Thursday, January 7, 2021
What a weird year it was, but things were pretty busy on the starling front and I wanted to share a few updates:
1) We published our Starling Mitochondrial DNA paper in Ecology & Evolution:
2) The journal kindly asked us to write a blog about our paper!
3) Our work was featured in Forbes!
4) We spoke about our research at the American Museum of Natural History’s online SciCafe (video recording available upon request):
5) I was featured on the College of Mount Saint Vincent website:
And because we have no shortage of birds, or ideas, stay tuned for more to come...
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Friday, August 25, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017
We could not have anticipated how much our students would excel at this new, sometimes disgust-inducing, precarious art. But they did.
The birds for our project are culled from airports, so they don’t fly into aircraft. Approximately 2 million starlings are killed this way every year (though this hardly puts a dent in the population of ~200 million in North America). Depredation methods range from trapping, cervical dislocation, and sometimes gunshot. Our birds this year had tiny holes in their skins from the latter. The students ever-so-gently mended the micro-tears in the skins. It would have been easy to: 1) give up. 2) make the mistake of creating a larger hole by tugging the delicate skin. But they didn’t.
The juvenile birds in particular, have slightly thinner skins than the adults (see image above, and the bird all the way to the right in the bottom picture). I love the idea of the students mending the young birds, and learning to be scientists. And I love to see the juvenile starlings, out of the nests now, learning to be starlings.