Archive for the ‘bird song’ tag

The Latest Underrepresented Voices in Science: Female Songbirds

By January 12th, 2018 at 11:09 am | Comment

Female Troupial, Photo Credit: Dr. Karan Odom

By: Julia Travers

Songbirds may be nature’s pop stars, but the females are still waiting for a turn in the spotlight — we don’t even know if females sing in about 70 percent of songbird species. This is because the study of birds has a gender gap: most previous research has focused on male song. Participants in the Female Bird Song Project are looking to right this imbalance.

“I think this is a very important project. It involves citizen science in gathering fundamental information about the behavioral diversity of birds,” says evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum of Yale University. Researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Leiden University call on birders to contribute videos, photos, sound clips and field notes of female bird songs so they can better understand the evolution and role of this expressive behavior. Their research already revealed that female birds have most likely been singing for tens of millions of years. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Rachel Maddow a citizen scientist?

By August 5th, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Comment

On the list of reasons to watch The Rachel Maddow Show, one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find “lessons in ornithology” near the top. Well, after Monday night’s show, that’s exactly what viewers got!

In the video clip below, Maddow explains how she was recently walking her dog in a western Massachusetts forest when she heard a bird song that she didn’t recognize. She immediately whipped out her smartphone and recorded part of the song. She then played the song on the air and challenged her audience to identify the bird.

(Ten points if you can correctly guess the bird before reading the rest of this blog post!)

Over the next day, hundreds of people provided their answers on the Maddow Blog and the show’s Facebook Fan Page. Many of the answers seemed reasonable (e.g., a chickadee), while others were wildly ridiculous (e.g., “her Blackberry running low on batteries”) or simply too offensive for me to repeat in a public forum.

Read the rest of this entry »