Call for Information: The Atlas of Migratory Connectivity for Birds of North America

We hope to publish the The Atlas of Migratory Connectivity for Birds of North America in 2016. The editorial team is asking for help in collecting data:

WOTH_ex1-231x300This book (and eventually the web based information) will fill an enormous knowledge gap about migratory connectivity as it is a mapping project that capitalizes largely on the historic band-recovery data from the USGS – Bird Banding Laboratory. After the recovery of literally millions and millions of bands, there has yet to be a comprehensive analysis and compilation of these data. The stories emerging for each species are spectacular, the connections between geographic places stunning, and the biological information priceless.

We want this atlas to be the most comprehensive source of information about migratory connectivity available. To make this possible, we will include all sources of connectivity information into each species’ map including sight recoveries of marked birds, stable isotope studies, geolocator, satellite and GSM telemetry work. Therefore we are reaching out to the ornithological community to request that you send us all information relating to migratory connectivity you might have or be aware of – published or unpublished on any species. Single data points are fine – we don’t want to miss anything! We will be collecting contributions through the end of 2014. All contributions included in the atlas will be properly acknowledged.

Please contact Amy Scarpignato with questions or to send your information. Thank you for considering this request and we look forward to hearing from you.

Peter P. Marra & Susan Haig

 

Reposted from http://www.migratoryconnectivityproject.org/atlas-of-migratory-connectivity-seeks-movement-data/

Celebrate the Red, White, and Blue… birds

We’re looking forward to the extended 4th of July weekend. To celebrate, we present our own version of red, white, and blue:

Untitled

These images are from The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds. Learn more here: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9384.html

van Grouw’s Anatomy: The Unfeathered Bird in Scientific American

Who knew anatomy could be ‘sexy?’7-2 van Grouw

So says paleozoologist and science writer Darren Naish in describing the natural science world’s renewed interest in the field. But it’s not because Katrina van Grouw gives a ‘stripped-down’ look at avian remains; rather, it comes courtesy of stream-lined CT scanning and sophisticated 3D visualizations. Yet, Naish’s praise of Katrina van Grouw’s artful spin on ornithology in this behind-the-scenes look at her life and work is much more nuanced than all that fancy stuff. His article in Scientific American explores the all-encompassing passion of this world-class ornithologist, meanwhile loudly complimenting her new book for its precision in rendering every minute muscle, bone, and tendon of the creatures that fill its pages.

Naish doesn’t just jot down his observations from the sitting-room chair; he is given the walking tour, complete with a perusal into the eccentric couple’s inner- and out-sanctums. For example: Katrina and Hein van Grouw are proud owners of a muntjac deer skull collection, a business of ferrets (live ones, it must be noted), and an unsurprisingly vast treasury of mounted bird skeletons, all of which Naish ogles with palpable envy. In many ways, the home epitomizes the research executed for and presented in The Unfeathered Bird: brimming with ornithological insight and too full of artifacts to dismiss as mere decorative ploy.


“It is simply imperative that you get hold of this book if you consider yourself interested in bird anatomy and diversity, or in anatomy or evolution in general.”


Despite van Grouw’s untimely release from her position at a natural history museum, which resulted from her desire to produce the book, Naish commends her for transforming the inconvenience into a wonderful opportunity and looks longingly into the future toward her forthcoming book on domesticates.

The ethically sourced remains of dogs, cats, chickens and pigeons make the cut for the tour, but together, they’re just a small fraction of the never-ending plethora of both bizarre and mundane critters that comprise van Grouw’s professional interests; and we, like Naish, hope to see them all expressed thus in due time.

Katrina van Grouw is the author of:

7-2 Unfeathered The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw
Hardcover | 2013 | $49.95 / £34.95 | ISBN: 9780691151342
304 pp. | 10 x 12 | 385 duotones/color illus. | eBook | ISBN: 9781400844890 | Reviews Table of Contents Introduction[PDF]

Watch This: Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, Episode 8 (Announcing the Winner!)

Sharon StitelerToday’s the day! In this final episode filled with thank-yous and shared memories, Sharon Stiteler of Birdchick reveals the theme of the series: good ol’ ROY G BIV (the rainbow). There were hints in Clay’s shirts and Sharon’s nail polish, and in the order of the birds themselves. Were you able to guess it?

And now: we know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting the announcement for the Winner of the Swarovski Spotting Scope, so without further delay: Congratulations to Peter Lawrence of Ottawa, Canada! Enjoy your new scope, brought to you by Swarovski Optik North America, Birdspotters Birding App, and of course, Princeton University Press.

Check out the episode here, and remember: when in doubt, visit south Texas!

Wildflower Wednesday: A Look at Summer’s Blossoming Bounty with Carol Gracie

Carol Gracie, queen of  flora, is at it again. Carol Gracie

The author of Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History has a new project in the works. The forthcoming book, to be called Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast, isn’t technically a field guide; but we’re betting it will be no less comprehensive. In it, Gracie plans to give a full account of the fascinating history of summer wildflowers: what pollinates them, what eats them, how their seeds are dispersed, as well as their practical and historical uses. The facts are further complemented by Gracie’s striking photographs, which we’ve sampled below. Be on the lookout for this one!

Carol Gracie is an acclaimed naturalist, photographer, and writer. Now retired, she worked for many years as an educator and tour leader with the New York Botanical Garden before teaming up with her husband, Scott Mori, on botanical research projects in South America. Her books include Wildflowers in the Field and Forest.

Enjoy these beautiful photos, and let us know in the Comments section which flowers you’ve noticed so far this season.

Monotropa Uniflora (Indian Pipe)
Opuntia humifusa showing ovaries
Datura stramonium
Nelumbo lutea
Platanthera ciliaris
Oenothera biennis
Lobelia cardinalis
Parnassia glauca
Solidago speciosa
Sarracenia purpurea

Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipe)

Indian pipe is a flowering plant that lacks chlorophyll, the green pigment that allows plants to capture the sun's energy and allow them to produce carbohydrates. Instead, Indian pipe has a relationship with a fungus that absorbs nutrients from the roots of nearby trees and transports them to the underground parts of Indian pipe.

Opuntia humifusa (Prickly pear cactus) showing ovaries

Many people are surprised to learn that we have native cactus plants in the Northeast. Yet this species and a few others are adapted to surviving our cold northern winters. The lovely yellow flowers are pollinated by several species of bees.

Datura stramonium (Jimsonweed)

Farmers consider jimsonweed to be a noxious field weed, yet it produces lovely, fragrant flowers that don't open until almost sunset. The flowers are visited, and pollinated, by moths during the night. Jimsonweed played an important role in the colonial history of Jamestown, VA.

Nelumbo lutea (American lotus)

Our native lotus is a showy aquatic plant with large, orbicular leaves and the largest native flower in the Northeast. Many parts of the plant are edible.

Platanthera ciliaris (Orange fringed orchid)

Fringed orchids are pollinated primarily by butterflies, such as this spicebush swallowtail. Other species have flowers in shades of purple, white, or greenish-white.

Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose)

As its name suggests, evening primrose has flowers that open in the evening to attract their moth pollinators. One of the pollinators, the primrose moth (Schinia florida) also feeds on the plant as a larva, and may sometimes be found resting, partially camouflaged, in the flowers during daylight hours.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

The deep, brilliant red of this flower is a beautiful, but sad, reminder that summer will soon draw to a close. Found in moist areas, cardinal flower provides a nectar source for hummingbirds that are migrating south in late summer.

Parnassia glauca (Grass-of-Parnassus)

Another late bloomer, grass-of-Parnassus has strikingly patterned flowers with bold green lines on a white background. Surrounding the true stamens is a ring of false stamens, each topped by a glistening yellow or green sphere that attracts insects. Grass-of-Parnassus is found in marshy seeps on limestone soils.

Solidago speciosa (Showy goldenrod)

Showy goldenrod is one of the latest species of goldenrod to bloom, filling meadows with its bright yellow flowers. Goldenrod meadows are a wonderful place to see the many species of insects that feed on, or get nectar from, goldenrod.

Sarracenia purpurea (Purple pitcher plant)

Pitcher plants live in nutrient-poor wetlands (acidic bogs or calcium-rich fens) and must supplement their nutritional needs with insects that are captured in their tubular leaves. Certain insects have evolved to withstand the digestive enzymes secreted by the leaf and use the pitcher plant as their only domicile.

Monotropa Uniflora (Indian Pipe)  thumbnail
Opuntia humifusa showing ovaries  thumbnail
Datura stramonium  thumbnail
Nelumbo lutea thumbnail
Platanthera ciliaris thumbnail
Oenothera biennis thumbnail
Lobelia cardinalis thumbnail
Parnassia glauca thumbnail
Solidago speciosa thumbnail
Sarracenia purpurea thumbnail

Watch This: Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, The Penultimate Episode

In this episode, Clay and Sharon show off some digiscoping/iMovie techniques that allow you to watch birds in slow-motion. They also reveal a new adapter that connects your phone to your binoculars creating a super portable digiscope alternative!

There are lots of hints at the theme of the series in this episode, I think. Do you have it yet? If you think you know, make sure you send your guess in to the Birdchick at digiscoping@birdchick.com (be sure to include the answer, your first and last name, mailing address and phone number). for the complete contest details, please visit the Birdchick site.

ps — thanks for the shout out for The Warbler Guide!

11-Year-Old Birder Raises Money for Conservation with #PhotoBigDay

Dessi1Dessi Sieburth, an 11-year-old birder from Pasadena, California, has just set the PhotoBigDay record for Antelope Valley, and for a great cause.

Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, co-authors of The Warbler Guide, started PhotoBigDay earlier this spring. Big Days are a tradition in the world of birding, a challenge to see how many different species of birds you can spot in a single day. Today, Big Days have become increasingly competitive, with seasoned birders and ornithologists using advanced equipment to catalogue species midnight to midnight. Stephenson and Whittle created PhotoBigDay with ordinary birders in mind, and with an added twist: participants must document every bird they see on film.

big photo day white faced ibisSieburth recorded 85 species on his PhotoBigDay, including:

  • White-Faced Ibis
  • Snowy Egret
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Caspian Tern
  • American White Pelican
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Western Tanager
  • Nuttal’s Woodpecker
  • Osprey

Sieburth used his PhotoBigDay as a fundraiser for conservation, and raised $200 so far for the preservation of a local migration area and seed for bird feeders.

 

Photos here are courtesy of Beatrix Schwarz, Dessi’s proud mother!

Watch this: Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, Episode 6

This episode features some pretty great guest appearances by professional actors like Kelvin Hatle, Dawn Krosnowski and Birds and Beers regular Duck Washington, so don’t miss it! (I especially enjoyed the discreet whipping-out of binoculars – only a birder could pull that off).

Alas, the series is coming to an end – have you guessed the theme yet? For details on how to submit your guess and potentially win a Swarovski Spotting Scope, check out the BirdChick’s web site: http://www.birdchick.com/wp/2014/06/digiscoping-with-clay-and-sharon-episode-5-florida-birding/

Watch this: Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, Episode 5

I had a fantastic time at Space Coast in January and this episode finds Clay and Sharon exploring the nearby Viera Wetlands where they run into some frisky herons that pretty much dash Sharon’s hopes of working a little less “blue” in 2014.

Have you caught on to the series theme yet? For details on how to submit your guess and potentially win a Swarovski Spotting Scope, check out the BirdChick’s web site: http://www.birdchick.com/wp/2014/06/digiscoping-with-clay-and-sharon-episode-5-florida-birding/

 

Win your choice of books with our #springbooks giveaway

spring book contest

There are three ways to enter this giveaway:

1.) Leave a comment below with the title of the book you would most like to win.

2.) Tweet the title of the book you would like to win with the hashtag #springbooks.

3.) Send an email to blog@press.princeton.edu with the title of the book you would like to win.

 

This giveaway ends today at 5 PM, so make sure you submit your entry!

 

[Update: This giveaway has concluded and the winners have been notified, 6/5/14]

Q&A with Leif Richardson, co-author of Bumble Bees of North America

auricomus PHW

We’ve recently published a comprehensive identification guide to bumble bees of North America. One of the authors of that guide sat down with Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden to talk about misunderstandings when it comes to bumbles–how are they related to other social bees? do they make honey? what does aposematic mean?, and more. Enjoy this preview and then read the complete interview here.

At the end of the interview, there is an opportunity to enter and win a copy of the book, too. So make sure you scroll to the bottom.

 

Q. First, can we briefly place bees, and bumblebees, in the order of things?

A. Bees are in the insect order called Hymenoptera, which also includes ants, wasps, sawflies and a few miscellaneous taxa. The closest relatives of bees are wasps, and they diverged from them many millions of years ago.

Q. Yes, I read in the book that bees evolved from wasps 100 million years ago—though frankly, I can’t tell the two apart. Are there things I can be looking for?

A. What many people consider a bee is the furry thing that looks like a honeybee, but most people don’t know that there are many species of bees that closely resemble wasps.

In general, bees are more hairy than wasps, and the hairs are branched—all bees have branched hairs at least somewhere on their body. They can sometimes look very feathery under the microscope, just like a bird feather….The feathery hairs insulate, and also aid in the collection of pollen—or so is the theory.

In most bees, the females collect pollen to feed to their offspring, so they have a pollen-carrying structure. We call that a scopa—which is usually a morphological characteristic of the exoskeleton combined with hairs. If you think of what a honeybee’s leg looks like, you have that big, wide area on the hind leg—this is the scopa of a honeybee. It’s a concave area and then it has long hairs that arch over it, so the bee can pack pollen in there.

In other bees, the scopa may be on the underside of the abdomen or on the thorax, and some bees even carry pollen internally.

You won’t always be able to tell bees and wasps apart, but look for the pollen-carrying structures, and generally more hair on bees than on wasps.

Q. How many kinds of bees in North America? And how many are bumblebees by comparison?

A. There are only 46 species of bumblebees, which are in the genus Bombus, on the continent–but nearly 4,000 species of bees total, including the bumblebees, in the United States.

Most of the bees are not what you know as a bee—most of them are solitary in their lifestyle, and not social [like the familiar honeybees]. So the males and females mate, and then the females go off and lay their eggs in a nest, and provision it with pollen and nectar and seal it up and they’re done.

That’s as opposed to rearing their offspring, and then successive generations of a worker caste coming and later reproductive individuals, too, all in the same colony in the same year—that would be a social bee.

Continue reading this Q&A at A Way to Garden: http://awaytogarden.com/bumblebee-101-leif-richardson-win-new-field-guide/

Watch this: Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, Episode 4

This week’s episode sees Sharon heading down to Rio Grande Valley to see a rare Amazon Kingfisher (“…an ABA Code 5 Rarity!!”). Along the way Clay and Sharon meet up with Greg Miller of The Big Year fame, spy on a Green Heron chick grabbing a snack and provide some instruction on how to deal with lighting while digiscoping.

Hopefully the theme of the series is becoming clearer. Remember if you figure it out, you can submit an entry to win a Swarovski STS Spotting Scope. All entries for the Swarovski STS spotting scope need to be emailed to digiscoping@birdchick.com and must include the answer, your first and last name, mailing address and phone number (in case I need to contact you regarding shipping). For more details about this contest, please visit the BirdChick’s web site.

ps — you may be interested to learn that the rabbits in this episode are stars in their own right. Sharon used to write Disapproving Rabbits blog which is worth checking out, even if it’s no longer active: http://www.disapprovingrabbits.com/