What Makes a Species? And Why it Matters.

A species should be an easy thing to define. Right? Well, actually no. Not one bit. Species are not always totally separate entities from their brethren. In many cases “species” are more like a gradient blending from one into another, without clear boundaries. As a result, there are ongoing discussions in the scientific world about how we define what does…

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Why Aren’t There Giant Animals Anymore?

Since I moved to Alaska and learned about the state’s Pleistocene history, I’ve bemoaned the absence of the ice-age mega-megafauna. Here in the interior, 20,000 years ago, mammoths, wooly rhinoceros, giant ground sloths, Smilodon, dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions, and other now sadly absent animals, roamed. While a few ice-age mammals persist (think musk oxen, bison, and moose), most…

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Endemic Birds of the Desert Southwest: Where are They?

If you’ve been following my Facebook or Instagram feeds, you’ll know that I’ve spent the last several weeks road-tripping through the western states of the lower 48. Along the way, we spent some time in the deserts of the Southwest. We spent a few nights each in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona, and Joshua Tree…

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Welcome Good News – Some Birds Adapting to Climate Change

I woke this morning feeling a desperate need for some kind of good news. Something to take my mind off, um, world events? I was grateful then, to open my email and find a news release about a new study of songbirds in Pennsylvania, published in the journal Global Change Biology. The researchers, Molly McDermott and Lucas DeGroote from the…

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