All birders intuitively understand the value of birding, even if we're not so great as a community as expressing that value. Birding as a means for personal growth, and coming to grips with the changing world around us is an important part of why we enjoy this hobby. It's certainly a fascinating topic with a lot of rich veins to mine. It's something that Dr. Trish O'Kane of the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources has thought a lot about. Her piece Of Fledglings and Freshmen was published recently in The New York Times, and she joins host Nate Swick to talk about her program "Birding to Change the World" and how birding can be a salve in this age of environmental anxiety.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is underway with a handful of storms already named. In the last couple decades human meteorologists have gotten pretty good at predicting the strength and track of tropical storms in the Atlantic basin, but still less good at predicting the severity of any individual season. But as it turns out, that's something Veerys, the ruddy Catharus thrush with the swirly song, are quite good at it. Dr. Christopher Heckscher of Delaware State University made the connection, and using the behavior of Veerys as a guide, beat most, all, meteorologists last year in accurately predicting the hurricane season in 2018. He joins host Nate Swick to talk about this amazing work, and the predictive powers of birds.
Also, some news on our upcoming live show at the Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival and some thoughts on what bird clubs can be in the 21st Century.
Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast!