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This episode—which is Number 54—is all about bird eggs. This is an important topic. Eggs are a fundamental aspect of bird biology. Recently, in Episode 49 of the podcast, I covered the topic of nests. So it seems like a logical next step for us to get the lowdown on eggs.Oology is the science of studying bird eggs. So today, we are all honorary oologists. We’re egg-heads on a mission to better understand how baby birds come into the world.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Book RecommendationsThe Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg [affiliate link]Links of InterestHow are Eggs Made (BBC/Attenborough clip) [VIDEO]Chicken embryo development animation [VIDEO]Bird Eggs Warn Each Other About Danger [VIDEO]Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show
Avian Flu

Avian Flu

2022-06-1234:26

This episode—which is Number 53—is all about Avian Influenza. Or colloquially what we call the Avian Flu or Bird Flu.Depending on where you live, you might have noticed news headlines in recent months about the frightening spread of Avian Flu among both domestic and wild birds. I thought you might have some questions about this emerging disease, and so here we are with an entire podcast episode on the subject.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestCurrent U.S. Bird Flu Situation in HumansLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show
This is Episode 52. Today, we’re talking about bird species that are way, way bigger than your average chickadee or finch.Our focus will be on evolutionary lineages that spawned some very large bird species. Species whose ancestors had been much smaller, millions of years earlier.We’ll look at a bunch of interesting giant birds throughout history. Then we’ll talk about some scientific explanations for why these critters got so big in the first place.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestThe Time Terror Birds Invaded [Video]Takahe - Return to the Wild [Video]Island GigantismLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show
The Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal

2022-05-0632:43

This is Episode 51. Our bird of interest today is the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis.This species is widespread across the eastern and southern US. It’s so well-known and loved that it’s the state bird for 7 states—more than any other species.Northern Cardinals are among the most abundant birds in North America. They’re familiar denizens of backyards that visit feeders all year long. So it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that ornithologists have done a lot of research on this abundant and conspicuous species.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show
Female Birdsong

Female Birdsong

2022-04-1921:511

This episode—which is Number 50— is all about Female Birdsong. Songs are one of the things we love most about birds. They define the soundscapes of the natural world. Even though humans have been surrounded by singing birds for millions of years, we still have some misconceptions about birdsong. Today’s episode is about a misconception of sex differences in birds… Of who sings and who doesn’t.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestThe Forgotten Female: How a Generation of Women Scientists Changed Our View of EvolutionFemale Bird Song ProjectVideo of Superb Fairy Wren female SingingSinging female Cerulean Warblers [Video]Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This episode—which is Number 49—is all about bird nests. There are tons of fun facts fun facts here, since nests are one of the more impressive aspects of bird behavior and breeding biology.We’ll go over the functions of nests, the challenges that nesting birds face, nest site selection, the many types of nests, and nest construction.That’s a lot to cover, but I’ll try to keep this at more of an overview level. This is sort of Bird Nests 101.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestWhy a Hawk Is a Hummingbird’s Best FriendTime Lapse Video of Blue Tit Building a NestBBC Video of Baya Weaver Nest ConstructionLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This episode—which is Number 48—is about the “Pecking Order” in birds. Or, to use the more technical term, dominance hierarchy. Our focus will be on dominance hierarchies that we see among birds within a single species. White-crowned Sparrows beating up on other White-crowned Sparrows, for example, as opposed to White-crowned Sparrows beating up on another species, like Lincoln’s Sparrow. The latter would be an example of interspecies dominance. But today, we’re talking about intraspecies dominance. Meaning within species.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestPukeko videoPukeko fighting videoLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This is Episode 47. It’s all about birds in the family Laridae. This is an ancient evolutionary lineage that originated over 70 million years ago, when the world was still ruled by dinosaurs.Besides gulls and terns, the family Laridae also includes the skimmers and the noddies.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestShoplifting gull stealing Doritos.Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This episode—which is Number 46—is about  a special place in the Malay Archipelago where two bird worlds collide. This region lies between Southeast Asia and Australia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. And it’s crowded with about 25,000 islands, of all sizes.Specifically, we’ll be looking at a geographic feature called Wallace’s Line. More generally, today’s episode will touch on the topic of biogeography.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show
This episode is all about forensic ornithology. This is a field where specialists use scientific techniques to identify bird species from trace evidence. Evidence like maybe a bit of feather, a bone fragment, or a smear of blood. Forensic ornithology is used to solve intriguing wildlife crimes like smuggling and illegal hunting. But it’s also helpful in other situations that don’t involve criminal activity. We’ll get into that side of things too.Like a murder mystery novel, today’s subject is, pretty much by definition, morbid. I’ll be talking a lot about dead birds. Blood and guts and all that. I prefer my birds very much alive, thank you, and I’m sure you do too. But, despite the gore, I think you’ll find that forensic ornithology is a fascinating topic. It’s worth learning about, to better appreciate the ways people fight to protect birds.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestChuparosa articleThe Remarkable Life of Roxie LaybourneUS Fish and Wildlife Forensics LabForensic Ornithologist: Pepper TrailForensic Ornithologist: Ariel M. GaffneyPodcast Episode: Ariel Gaffney, "Bird Crime Fighter"The Feather AtlasFeather Identification Lab at Smithsonian[VIDEO] It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's SNARGE!Errors and Corrections10:32 - I said " Law enforcement offers..." when I meant "officers."32:55 - I said "Yellow-billed Cockatoos," when I meant Yellow-crested CockatoosLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This episode—which is Number 44—is about the relationship between coffee production and bird conservation. We'll get into how do different types of coffee cultivation affect birds, and the conservation benefits of Bird Friendly Coffee.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestSmithsonian Bird Friendly CoffeeBird Friendly Coffee [VIDEO]Coffee and ConservationLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
The Common Loon

The Common Loon

2022-01-1338:44

This episode—which is Number 43—is all about the Common Loon, Gavia immer. People in Europe may know it as the Great Northern Diver.This bird is a symbol of the northern wilderness in North America. It’s closely associated with lakes and ponds in the boreal forests of the northern US and Canada.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~‍Links of InterestLoon scenes in the movie On Golden Pond [VIDEO]Why Hollywood Loves this creepy bird call [VIDEO]Loon Kills Bald EagleAnimation of Common Loon abundance across the seasons.Link to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
2021 is over, yo! So it's time for the Annual Review Episode! We’ll be looking back at some highlights of bird science in the year 2021. What fascinating things did ornithologists and other biologists discover about birds this year?I’ve picked 5 studies to highlight for you. These are stories that, in most cases, were interesting enough to make the news.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestVIDEO: A snoozing fox meets a plucky little black-crested titmouseVIDEO: Tapaculos Hunt for TrufflesReferencesBird neurocranial and body mass evolution across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: The avian brain shape left other dinosaurs behindShape-shifting: changing animal morphologies as a response to climatic warmingFacultative Parthenogenesis in California CondorsLifetime reproductive benefits of cooperative polygamy vary for males and females in the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)Global abundance estimates for 9,700 bird speciesDrones and deep learning produce accurate and efficient monitoring of large-scale seabird coloniesA supergene underlies linked variation in color and morphology in a Holarctic songbirdA new genus and species of tanager (Passeriformes, Thraupidae) from the lower Yungas of western Bolivia and southern PeruDiscovering the Role of Patagonian Birds in the Dispersal of Truffles and Other Mycorrhizal FungiWhat the pluck? The theft of mammal hair by birds is an overlooked but common behavior with fitness implicationsLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
Swallows and Martins

Swallows and Martins

2021-12-2348:511

This episode is all about birds in the family Hirundinidae. These are the swallows and martins.Other than when they’re nesting, swallows are in the air almost all day long. This aerial lifestyle and that high-speed, erratic flight pattern can make it hard for us earthbound primates to get close looks at swallows. But these flappy little birds definitely deserve our attention. They have many charms and talents that—with a little patience—we can learn about and see for ourselves.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
Fire and Birds

Fire and Birds

2021-12-0749:19

Ecologists and ornithologists have been studying the effects of wildfire on bird populations all over the world. Their research has resulted in many fascinating discoveries about the relationships between fire and birds.Wildfires have been in the news a lot in recent years. In the western US where I live, enormous fires have been sweeping across California, Oregon, Idaho, and other states with increasing frequency and severity.And who can forget the 2019-2020 bushfire season in Australia, which came to be known as the “Black Summer?” Then there were the thousands of fires that broke out in the rainforests and wetlands of Brazil in 2020.This is all pretty bad news, no doubt. It can be gut-wrenching to watch beautiful wilderness go up in flames, not to mention towns and people’s homes. But if we temporarily set aside our emotions, we can take a more scientific, objective viewpoint to ask the question: Are wildfires harmful to birds and other wildlife, in general? It turns out there’s no simple “yes or no” answer to that question. ~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestOld Flames: The Tangled History of Forest Fires, Wildlife, and PeopleBringing Back the Red-cockaded Woodpecker: Are Prescribed Fire and Artificial Nests Enough?New Study Is First to Explore How Wildfire Smoke Derails Bird MigrationThese Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests on FireSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
This is a special episode, and the first of its kind. I answer questions from my listeners. It’s a fun, mixed bag of bird factoids.Who were these lucky people who got to contribute to this episode? The specific listeners who submitted questions were my supporters on Patreon.Of course, the idea is that our discussion today will be interesting and informative to all of my listeners.This Q&A session covers things like bacterial diseases, bike helmets, lemon-scented juncos, and baby owls!~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestWoodpeckers and Brain Injury Prevention Bird song could hold clues for human disordersReferencesThe role of ecologic diversification in sibling speciation of Empidonax flycatchers (Tyrannidae): multigene evidence from mtDNA [PDF]The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human MicrobiomeA Systematic Review of Carrion Eaters' Adaptations to Avoid SicknessFeatures of owl wings that promote silent flightUpwash exploitation and downwash avoidance by flap phasing in ibis formation flightLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
New World Vultures

New World Vultures

2021-11-0350:56

This episode is about the seven bird species in the family Cathartidae: the New World vultures and condors.This group includes species like the Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, and Andean Condor.Among these birds are some that people celebrate, or even revere. But others tend to get ignored, disparaged, or at worst, persecuted. I guess you could say our relationship with New World Vultures has been… complicated.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
How Birds Fly

How Birds Fly

2021-10-2036:29

Birds, probably more than any other aerial creatures, have amazed and inspired us with the grace and power of their flight. So just how do they do it?In this episode, we'll look at the physics and anatomy of bird flight.I’ll start off with the basics of aerodynamics as it relates to bird flight. That’s the meat and potatoes of our lesson today. But we’ll also consider the different ways that birds fly—their different modes of flight. Last, we’ll examine some additional adaptations birds have that make them high-octane flying machines.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~‍Links of InterestBird Flight [Wikipedia]Why do birds fly in a V? Endangered ibis reveals its amazing secretThe amazing muscles and bones that make birds flyLink to this episode on the Science of Birds websiteSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
Penguins

Penguins

2021-09-2958:07

This episode is all about penguins. All penguins belong to the family Spheniscidae.Penguins are among the most bizarre and specialized birds in the world. Few other birds represent such a departure from what we think of as the standard avian model. The specializations of penguins—their adaptations—serve them very well for a life of diving deep into the ocean and of surviving in extreme cold.These birds are wonderful examples of how “life finds a way”—how animals can evolve into radically different forms, adapt to incredibly harsh conditions, and still manage to look pretty darn cute.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~Links of InterestExtinct mega penguin was tallest and heaviest everMelting Antarctic Ice Causing Penguins to StarveNice illustration showing the relative sizes and appearances of every penguin species.Scientists Discover “Super-Colony” of 1.5 Million Adélie Penguins in Images From SpaceSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
Wetlands as Bird Habitat

Wetlands as Bird Habitat

2021-09-1536:342

In this episode, we’re going to look at wetlands as habitats for birds.We’ll start with how to recognize—how to define—a wetland ecosystem. Then, we’ll get into why these ecosystems are so important to birds. How do birds use wetlands as habitat? Next, I’ll highlight a few examples of bird species that depend on wetlands. Then we’ll talk about the conservation issues surrounding wetlands, and how their loss is affecting birds.~~ Leave me a review using Podchaser ~~‍Links of InterestWetlands InternationalWhere Are The World’s Wetlands? [Map]Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)
Comments (2)

Happy⚛️Heritic

- This show is everything that a podcast should be!

Nov 15th
Reply

Илья Животиков

Fun, educational and pleasant to the ear. Great work!

Mar 21st
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