Tropically oriented readers may recognize the fire-headed bird above as a Round-tailed Manakin. It’s a spectacular, but by no means the most spectacular, bird that a team of ornithologists (three of them recent Cornell grads) found during a grueling three-month expedition to the Gran Pajonal, a virtually unexplored region of central Peru. That story is just one of the feature articles in the spring issue of Living Bird—now posted online for free reading.
What else is in store for you in the issue? There are two unusual explorations of extinction: Stephen J. Bodio wonders whether the great flocks of Passenger Pigeons that stormed the eastern forests could have been an aberration of the postglacial landscape; and Jack Connor ponders the Heath Hen as he walks among the low-growing berry bushes that were a favorite food.
Thomas Watson offers a primer on birding Alaska by sea kayak, and Mel White has a few tips on how to learn bird songs (he thinks songs are least forgettable when you have shed blood to identify them, but offers a few lower-investment techniques as well). And our ScienceScope column takes a first look at an ancient field guide, courtesy of the Yale professor and Macarthur “genius” Richard Prum.
Lab members should be receiving their Summer 2010 copies of Living Bird any day now. I’ve said it before, but I’ll just mention again for new readers how important—and easy—it is to join the Lab (video). We’re a nonprofit organization that gets very little funding from Cornell University. Memberships are a major part of the funding that we depend upon to keep going. Thanks to everyone who supports us.
(Image: Round-tailed Manakin by Ben Winger)