It’s OK To Like The Mandarin Duck!

(…But Do It Responsibly!) Hello Dear Readers! The past few months have been exciting from a birding-eye-view, especially for Stanley Park in Vancouver, Burnaby, and Central Park, New York City. What do these two areas have in common for birds? Behold the glamorous Mandarin Duck! Move over New York. Metro Vancouver has its own ‘rock star’ waterfowl on the loose. https://t.co/RnS3b7bcP4 — Global BC (@GlobalBC) November 3, 2018 It’s our ducky day. We’ve got a…

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It’s OK To Like The Mandarin Duck!

(…But Do It Responsibly!) Hello Dear Readers! The past few months have been exciting from a birding-eye-view, especially for Stanley Park in Vancouver, Burnaby, and Central Park, New York City. What do these two areas have in common for birds? Behold the glamorous Mandarin Duck! Move over New York. Metro Vancouver has its own ‘rock star’ waterfowl on the loose. https://t.co/RnS3b7bcP4 — Global BC (@GlobalBC) November 3, 2018 It’s our ducky day. We’ve got a…

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Bird Tracks in the Classroom, Prologue

Hello Dear Readers! I’ll be honest: I’m a little preoccupied with present-day bird tracks. I look for them when I’m on walks. I look for bird tracks when I take my recycling to the depot at the dump (the open pond sewage treatment area is there as well, sometimes attracting shorebirds and always attracting ducks and ravens.) Some opportunities I can anticipate, especially the outside-based ones. Others I stumble across. The Fledgling Idea I had…

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Vote in the 2018 People’s Choice Awards: Canada’s Favourite Science Online!

Hello Dear Readers! Science Borealis and their co-sponsor, the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) are excited to present the nominees for the 2018 People’s Choice Awards: Canada’s Favourite Science Online…AND BIRDS IN MUD WAS NOMINATED! THANK YOU! Seriously, thank you! I am honored that people think that what I have to say on studying fossil footprints (a.k.a. ichnology), and life in museums and as a palaeontologist matters. Studying fossils is really all about sharing…

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How To Make Bird Track Casts

Hello, Dear Readers! Part of the research that I do on Cretaceous-age bird tracks (a.k.a. individual footprints) and trackways involves me getting really familiar with all kinds of bird tracks, not just the fossilized ones. Tracks and trackways of small creatures are ephemeral: they do not last very long, and they are easily trampled or eroded away, or they dry and crumble, blowing away on the winds of time. Most of the Cretaceous-age bird tracks…

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I’m Moving…To a New Website!

Hello Dear Readers!I have finally created my professional website!On my site, you will see what is essentially my curriculum vitae, or CV.  I outline my work experience, my and coauthors' publications (I still need to attach downloadable PDFs), and my portfolio of Bird Glamour images and videos.I am also moving this blog over to my new website! My blog is as much a part of my professional communication activities as is my publication record. I…

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Funding Neglect Kills Museums: #MuseuNacional Fire Was A Preventable Tragedy

I am at a loss for words today. Late Sunday night (in my time zone) I started seeing tweets on the devastating fire at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. This is Brazil’s oldest scientific institution, founded in 1818, and is the largest scientific repository for historical, biological, geological, and palaeontological specimens in the country. The fire reportedly happened after hours, and no one was killed or injured (at least no injuries have been…

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Favorite Sci-Fi Movies: THEM!

Hello Dear Readers!I've made it no secret that I watch plenty of movies and TV programs. Familiar movies and TV shows are less distracting for me than listening to music while I am writing. Audiobooks are right out when I'm writing: it feels like the mental equivalent of trying to drink a glass of water and talk at the same time.I enjoy classic monster and science fiction movies. Thing From Another World (also John Carpenter's…

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Rocking On In Career Transition

Hello Dear Readers!Whenever I'm asked, "Do you want the good news or the bad news?" I choose to receive the bad news first. There are two reasons for this. One, I want to know the exact nature of the challenge I must face. This appeals to the collections manager in me, as a lot of what I did as a collections manager involved picturing plausible threats to the fossils for which I am a steward, and…

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The Ivory Tower of Buying Fossils

It has been a couple of years since I've written about the commercial fossil trade and its erosive impacts (oh yes, I went there) on the science and public access of vertebrate paleontology heritage. Here's the usual scenario that inspires one of these posts:There is media coverage of the high-profile sale of a dinosaur skeleton, and that skeleton is typically the skeleton of a theropod skeleton. There will be an opening line of "If you…

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