Monday, September 21, 2009

AOU -- and you?

How many birders know about AOU -- American Ornithologists' Union -- and its work? Are you a member? Do you know about its annual meeting in August? This year's meeting took place in August in Philadelphia, considered by some as the birthplace of birding due to the work of ornithologist Alexander Wilson (right).

In case AOU and its meeting flew below your radar last month, the scientists with Cornell Lab of Ornithology provided blog posts that appear on Round Robin, the lab's blog. All told, Cornell scientists offered four peeks into the meeting's content.

Dr. Elise Ferree shared insights from Wednesday's workshop about innovative ways to teach ornithology.

Dr. Caren Cooper went to a Thursday session called Anthropogenic Structures, "which is how ornithologists refer to birds hitting things that people have built."

Lab director John Fitzpatrick wrote about a Thursday symposia on "conservation-reliant species" -- those that depend on human intervention to avoid extinction -- and in particular Kirtland's Warbler.

Dr. Colleen McLinn shared many points from the Friday keynote address about bird brains and song learning. Do you know which three groups of birds are capable of vocal learning?


Blogger Grant McCreary said...

I'm also curious if many other birders are members of the AOU, and if so, if it is worthwhile.
I'm familiar with the group, and have read a little in the Auk (though I confess mostly book reviews). But the more scientific articles are sometimes tough to get through. And some of the relevant/interesting info gets reported on elsewhere.

September 22, 2009 6:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'm interested in joining, but the membership rates are a little high for me right now.

September 22, 2009 7:28 PM  
Blogger Matt Sarver said...

I would've liked to attend the AOU meeting this year, but as with many professional societies these days, the fees associated with the annual meetings prohibit those of us outside of academia who don't have wads of extra cash stuffed under our mattresses from participating. Early registration for the 2010 meeting is $325. Add to that your costs for lodging and travel, and things get out of hand in a hurry!

September 22, 2009 7:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Hanson said...

I would be interested in joined but you can add me to the list of budget-challenged birders. I'm very happy that most of the older issues of the Auk are available on SORA, so I can refer to them, at least. I knew about the Philadelphia meeting and briefly considered going, but when I saw how much it would cost, that took care of that.

September 23, 2009 3:19 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Hanson said...

I would be interested in joinING, I mean. Too early in the morning...

September 23, 2009 3:21 AM  
Blogger Hugh said...

Thanks for linking to our posts on the AOU meeting, Amy. It's an interesting question whether birders are interested in joining the AOU or a similar professional society. As Grant says, the scientific articles can be pretty tough to get through and are written with the idea of information density rather than readability foremost. It's kind of like the difference between listening to classical music and studying up on the latest developments in cello strings. Scientific meetings are even more jam-packed with information and jargon since the format is so rushed. But the societies might want to think about opening the meetings up for, say, a day or an afternoon for the interested public to experience firsthand this key way that scientists share results, make alliances, and move forward. Thanks for bringing it up - Hugh

September 24, 2009 6:08 AM  

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