Statement on common name changes

The Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO) strongly endorses efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of ornithology and the pastime of birding. The recent decision by the American Ornithological Society to change all eponymous bird names caused a stir in much of the ornithological community.  We have had many discussions among AFO […] Read More

Studying Bird Migration without ever capturing a single bird

The ability to attach devices such as satellite transmitters or geolocators to birds has transformed our knowledge of how birds migrate. However, these technologies have their limits. They require capturing the birds, usually twice, and the expense limits most studies to a small number of individuals within a relatively limited portion of their range. Also, some species, such as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, are too small to allow tagging with current geolocators. Read More

Long-term changes in arrival timing and site functionality in two passerine species during spring migration in northeastern Pennsylvania, USA

We have been studying migratory songbirds for more than 18 years in and near Lackawanna State Park in Lackawanna County Pennsylvania, USA. Over the years we have examined a number of questions, mostly focused migration. In addition to capturing and banding birds for identification, we take assorted morphological measures, weigh, age (via plumage and measurements), and sex (via plumage, measurements, sex-specific breeding characteristics and/or genetically) them. Read More

The influence of artificial light on the behaviour of a nocturnal bird

Light pollution caused by artificial light at night (or ALAN) is one of many factors of the ever-increasing urbanization of the planet that impact the behaviour and ecology of organisms. The use of artificial light in rural and natural areas in addition to dense urban centres mean its one of the more pervasive symptoms of urbanization and can alter natural environments even quite far from cities. However, the ecological consequences of ALAN on the behaviour of organisms is not well understood, particularly with nocturnal organisms. Read More

Sex determination of Eastern White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys leucophrys) using wing chord length

The White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is a common, sexually monochromatic (male and female coloration is identical) songbird species that occurs across North America in different seasons. For this reason, it is one of the most commonly studied songbirds in North America. The White-crowned Sparrow has four currently recognized subspecies: Eastern (leucophrys), Gambel’s (gambelii), Nuttall’s (nuttalli), and Puget Sound (pugetensis). Read More

Three professional societies unite on National Science Foundation grant in effort to increase access and inclusivity in ornithology

The landscape of science is changing: People from increasingly varied backgrounds, identities, cultures, and genders are pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Support for this more diverse population of scientists needs to extend beyond “one size fits all” to better meet the needs of today’s scientists. Expanding support and strengthening the sense of community for individuals and groups who have not been historically welcomed in a discipline can foster a deeper sense of belonging... Read More

Use of acoustic monitoring to estimate occupancy of the Antioquia Brushfinch (Atlapetes blancae), a critically endangered species, in San Pedro de los Milagros, Antioquia

The Antioquia Brushfinch (Atlapetes blancae) is a range restricted bird limited to a plateau in the Central Andes of Colombia, just 45 minutes from the city of Medellín, Colombia. This species was described in 2007 by a British ornithologist based on three museum specimens collected in 1971 by the brothers of a Christian organization committed […] Read More

OC bimonthly news brief March-April 2023

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in March and April 2023. The Ornithological Council’s mission is to: Our work focuses on animal welfare issues, permits, research funding, and other policies that affect ornithologists and ornithological societies. We greatly appreciate your support. Please contact Laura Bies with questions or concerns […] Read More