A Traveller’s Guide to Feathers # 84 – What Do You Most Want to Know About Birds?

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At no time in history has there been more scientists. Some claim that the number of active scientists exceeds the total number of scientists that worked in all previous generations combined. Researchers are making remarkable breakthroughs in all branches of the natural sciences. Some of these novel findings are the result of better technology, but most of the big discoveries are the result of the dedicated effort of lots and lots of clever, enthusiastic people. Hundreds of scholarly journals report on the results of those efforts. It is kind of sad, but the best that any scientist can do is try to avoid falling further and further behind.

This applies as much to birds as it does to quantum mechanics or planets circling distant stars. I try to keep up with the ornithological literature by reading at least the abstracts of every article in each of the journals that cross my desk. If the article is particularly relevant to my areas of study, or if I think it would make an interesting entry for A Traveller’s Guide to Feathers, I study the rest of the document.

To this point, I have been making guesses about what aspects of ornithological research might be most interesting to bird enthusiasts. The use of gopher tortoise burrows by birds on military sites? Perhaps. The responses of Golden Eagles to off-road vehicles? Maybe. I would like to move on from guesses, and create summaries of recent research concerning birds based on suggestions from readers.

And so, if there is a particular topic that you would like to know more about, please send me a suggestion. I will do my best to find results from a recent study, and let you know about them in a future installment of A Traveller’s Guide to Feathers. Are you keen to know more about the challenges of migration, or the ways in which birds respond to food shortages? Send me an email message. Is there a group of birds that particularly fascinates you, or even a particular species? Please be in touch.

Is there is a young bird enthusiast in your life, with a question about our feathered friends? “How come not all birds fly? Why is bird poop white? What is the smartest bird?” No matter how simple or complex the question, I will do my best to answer it.

Please write to me at glen@glenchilton.com, and I will try to address your interests in a future entry to A Traveller’s Guide to Feathers.

Photo credits: Migrating Cranes Рwww.pinterest.com; Golden Eagle Daniel Hernanz, www.pinterest.com.

Golden eagle by Daniel Hernanz

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