The Golden Fleece Award

The Golden Fleece Award (1975–1988) was a tongue-in-cheek award given by Senator William Proxmire to public officials in the United States for squandering public money, its name taken from the actual Order of the Golden Fleece, a prestigious award created in the late-15th Century. Examples of awards were those given…

Creepy Birdwatchers?

In 2016 there was a study in New Ideas in Psychology entitled On the Nature of Creepiness. An online survey of 1341 individuals asked what appearances and behaviors by others made them feel creepy. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top three occupations listed as creepy are clown, taxidermist, and sex shop…

The Lyrebirds

As I occasionally like to do, here’s a little natural history of an interesting bird group, this time the Lyrebird, either of two species of ground-dwelling Australian birds of the genus Menura and the family Menuridae. They are notable for their superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from…

Kookaburra

In 1938, the feature film Tarzan and the Green Goddess contained a call from the Laughing Kookaburra even though Tarzan’s adventures occurred in Africa where there are no kookaburras; but the bird came to represent jungle calls in various movies. The call is heard in The Wizard of Oz (1939),…

Wind, Hot Air, and Bluster

I hesitate to get into politics in these blogs on birds, but the reason bird populations are in trouble are mainly due to various kinds of legislation – on land use, climate change, pesticide use, and so forth, which, of course, was passed by politicians who we elect. And having…
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