All About Birds Blog


Welcome to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s blog. Here we’ll trace the development of our new website as we write, edit, design, brainstorm, and – most importantly – ask you what you think of it all. Please read us often, and comment liberally.

So who are we?

Hugh PowellHugh Powell, Staff Science Writer. I’ll be writing most of the posts you read, though you’ll hear from my co-bloggers (below) when their own expertise is called for. I’m a science writer with a background in bird biology and fire ecology. I love to watch birds because they’re innately intriguing – and also because they’re a constant source of revelations about how the world is put together. I’m also really interested in the ocean, and I blog about both topics over here.

Alex ChangAlex Chang, Lead Web Designer. When he’s not expressing himself via lively web designs (i.e., this blog’s charming warblers), Alex sums up his life with a timeline: 1992, graphic design. 1996, web design. 1997, photography. 1998, birdwatching. 2008, designing websites for Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He loves to exercise both sides of his brain by building creative and usable websites for everyday people. He still wants to be a famous manga artist someday.

Laura EricksonLaura Erickson, Staff Science Editor. Laura has written three books about birds and runs one of the bird world’s most popular blogs. An avid birder and lister, she keeps track of all sorts of sightings, from her “BiGBY list” (that’s all the birds she’s seen without burning fossil fuels to reach them) to the number of species that have splattered her with poop. Laura is a former winner of the owl category of the American Ornithologists’ Union’s bird-calling contest. She may have had inside help: an adopted Eastern Screech-Owl named Archimedes has lived with her for nearly 10 years.

Miyoko ChuMiyoko Chu, Director of Communications. When she was 11, Miyoko and her dad built a pigeon coop in their Berkeley, California, backyard. From there, her interests broadened: aerobatic Cliff Swallows in college, sleek and glossy Phainopeplas for her Ph.D., and North America’s migrant birds in her book Songbird Journeys. As director of communications, Miyoko is especially keen to find out what people would like to see on our website.

Sam CroweSam Crowe, All About Birds Editor. Sam contributes to the All About Birds website from his home in Texas, where he says the birding is better. His first official birding trip was with his botany professor in college. Sam found the many Red-tailed Hawks they saw mildly interesting, but was enthralled by his first Marsh Hawk (now called Northern Harrier), a decent bird that always makes itself easy to identify. It remains his favorite raptor.

Greg Delisle, Web Manager. Greg explored Maryland, Tennessee, and Indiana before settling in New York State. He has a lifelong interest in natural systems, stream communities, and “herps” – reptiles and amphibians. He came to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in 1999 to manage the Lab’s website. He works on application integration, content management, e-commerce, and other decidedly 21st century tasks. For special events, he occasionally abandons his regular duties to become The Sapsucker, the Lab’s official mascot.

Flisa StevensonFlisa Stevenson, Marketing Manager, Citizen Science and Education. When we start discussing the needs of teachers, students, and citizen scientists on Round Robin, Flisa will be on hand for advice and perspective. From her background in environmental education and landscape design, Flisa sees birds as bright and musical neighbors that can draw us into exploring the places we live. Hailing from Austin, Texas, via Anchorage, Alaska, Flisa has worked with the Citizen Science and Education programs since 2006.

nate_sennerNathan Senner, Graduate Student. Nate is studying Hudsonian Godwits in the Arctic and in southern Chile for his Ph.D. at Cornell. He writes in to Round Robin during his travels to keep the rest of us up to date on field work in those far-flung parts of the globe. Nate grew up in Alaska, where his ornithologist father got him hooked on shorebirds at age 8, watching migration at the Copper River Delta. Now 27, Nate is studying how climate change affects godwits’ lives. The rest of his time, he says, is split between “trying to stay happily married to my wife, Kate, who agreed to marry me despite having spent time on mudflats watching Hudsonian Godwits, and sustain a second obsession with long-distance running.”