The Weekly Chirp: Snack caching

The particularly observant and ornithologically biased eye will have noticed recently that our neighborhood blue jays are busy. Doing what, you ask? Winter is coming, and blue jays across the Northeast have begun preparing for it. As humans, we worry about the colder temperatures and dangerous storms associated with winter. While these factors certainly pose a […]

The Weekly Chirp: Find your niche

Put simply, a niche is the ecological role a species plays in its environment. Think about the classic backyard birds and the niches they occupy — American robins hop around on the ground hunting for worms, downy woodpeckers drill holes in trees extracting insects and house finches crack thick seeds in their powerful bills. If […]

The Weekly Chirp: Loons in love

I spent this summer up in New Hampshire working as a loon biologist for the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC). Yes, that is a real thing. The LPC has been around for over 40 years now and hires several loon biologists each summer to monitor the entire loon population of N.H. It was such a sweet […]

The Weekly Chirp: Staging season

How refreshing it is to arrive back on campus and watch all the starry-eyed first-years gallivanting from class to class, excited and eager to “discover themselves” and figure out “what life is all about.” Good luck with that. Many of my observations of these new college students are derived from meals at Dewick, during which seemingly […]

The Weekly Chirp: Birds and Engineering

To cap off a wonderful fall of avian anecdotes and bird facts, let’s explore how humans have utilized bird morphology to increase the efficiency of modern-day technology. The science and art of mimicking biological structures and functions to solve technical problems, known as biomimicry, is used across scientific fields, ranging from glue derived from the […]

The Weekly Chirp: Birds and climate

Anyone living in the general New England area can tell you that this fall has been outrageously warm — a trend that we have been seeing (and feeling) for all seasons over the past decade. While climate change denial clouds the concentration of cocky conservatives in Congress, temperatures in the United States keep breaking records. […]

The Weekly Chirp: Birds in history

The bald eagle holds a special place in the hearts of the American people, birders and non-birders alike. While the exact reasoning may vary slightly from person to person, the major reason underlying Americans’ love for bald eagles is their elite status as our national bird. Once hunted to near extinction, bald eagles now inhabit rivers […]

The Weekly Chirp: Birds and coffee

Coffee — it fuels people around the world, but especially Americans. And it looks like our generation of driven, multi-tasking millennials are drinking the most. That’s right, Americans ages 19–34 account for close to half of the total coffee consumption in America — and that number keeps rising. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts giggle with excitement […]

The Weekly Chirp: Wondrous waterfowl

With temperatures finally dropping down to the low 30s last week, it appears the transition from autumn to winter is upon us (but shout out to climate change for those extra couple of warm weeks). Cold winds and gloomy, gray skies provoke several behavioral responses in humans, but mainly a marked shift from light fleeces […]

The Weekly Chirp: Massachusetts birding

Time to shift gears this week and give you all some details about the birding world that surrounds Tufts. And yes, it is indeed known as “birding,” not “birdwatching” —  a common misconception made by non-birders, or as birders call them, “the less fortunate.” The state of Massachusetts, despite its small size, is home to […]