Love Notes for Dead Birds 5

Condition: “Super Excellent”.

Except, you know, for the fact that it’s dead…

Condition given as "Super Excellent," overlooking the fact that the bird is quite dead.

Condition given as “Super excellent,” overlooking that the bird is in fact quite dead.

About the Love Notes for Dead Birds: We receive a lot of birds that people find dead and route to us through places like wildlife agencies, rehabilitation clinics, etc. What makes these specimens scientifically useful is to write the location and date down with the bird and freeze it until it can be gotten to us. People often write a little more than necessary, and we’re pleased to share some of those.

Love Notes for Dead Birds 4

It came bringing the dove of peace and killed itself against a window. Oh, and the “dove” was a European Starling.
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About the Love Notes for Dead Birds posts: We receive a lot of birds that people find dead and route to us through places like wildlife agencies, rehabilitation clinics, etc. What makes these specimens scientifically useful is to write the location and date down with the bird and freeze it until it can be gotten to us. People often write a little more than necessary, and we’re pleased to share some of those.

Love Notes for Dead Birds 3

We receive a lot of birds that people find dead and route to us through places like wildlife agencies, rehabilitation clinics, etc. What makes these specimens scientifically useful is to write the location and date down with the bird and freeze it until it can be gotten to us. People often write a little more than necessary, and we’re pleased to share some of those.
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Love Notes for Dead Birds 2

We receive a lot of birds that people find dead and route to us through places like wildlife agencies, rehabilitation clinics, etc. What makes these specimens scientifically useful is to write the location and date down with the bird and freeze it until it can be gotten to us. People often write a little more than necessary, and we’re pleased to share some of those.
Continue reading

Love Notes for Dead Birds

We receive a lot of birds that people find dead and route to us through places like wildlife agencies, rehabilitation clinics, etc. What makes these specimens scientifically useful is to write the location and date down with the bird and freeze it until it can be gotten to us. People often write a little more than necessary, and we’re pleased to share some of those.
Continue reading

Brina Kessel (1925 – 2016)

Brina was a true scientific pioneer, and she blazed a bold new trail in Alaska ornithology for succeeding generations. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with her and am proud to try to carry on in her tradition. KW.

(Brina’s brother Quentin wrote the following obituary. A salutory article from 2007 and a partial list of Brina’s publications by Dan Gibson follows that.)
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The 2016 Checklist of Alaska Birds

It’s going to be a great year! Get out and enjoy the birds of Alaska with a copy of the authoritative checklist. You can get a copy by clicking at right or here.

As of January 2016 the total number of species known to have occurred in Alaska is now 510. The five added to the Alaska list in 2015 were: Continue reading

The Growing Power of the Ranks of the Dead

Every animal dies. Starvation, predation, disease, old age—whatever the means, eventually the end comes. We humans have a heightened morality about death, and this is good. But at times this morality is not well directed. Uproars over individual animal deaths often overlook larger and more important issues. Recently it was an eruption over a kingfisher killed in the Solomon Islands. Last year it was about a spider. Both animals were euthanized by scientists to preserve the bodies as scientific specimens to be added to research collections (which I facetiously call the ranks of the dead in the title). And in both cases there were international outcries because a scientist had killed an animal.

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Migratory birds bring avian influenza to North America via Beringia

Our paper is out this month in the Journal of Virology pointing to the importance of Beringia in the intercontinental spread of avian influenza.

A figure from the paper showing the movements of birds and the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 in 2014.

A figure from the paper showing the movements of birds and the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 in 2014.

A word cloud of the paper's contents

A word cloud of the paper’s contents