I would rather read rather than listen partly because my hearing isn’t what it used to be and I tend to be distracted while earbuds are inserted. But I do occasionally listen to podcasts, as many of you do, while tinkering, working in the garden, walking, or driving. I checked out a new one the other day called The Science of Birds. The title interested me, not just because I am interested and write about the science of birds myself, but that’s also the title of my website, Ornithology.com.
From the Science of Birds podcast website: “Ivan Phillipsen is the podcast host and the creator of The Science of Birds. He is a professional naturalist guide with a background in scientific research. Ivan has loved animals and nature his whole life. His first obsession was with amphibians and reptiles. This interest led him to graduate school, where he studied amphibians. After earning a Masters degree in Biology and a PhD in Zoology, he did postdoctoral research on aquatic insects. Ivan likes creepy, crawly things. Along the way, his love of nature expanded to include plants, fungi, and all animals, including birds. Birds have become Ivan’s greatest passion. He’s an avid birder and co-owns a birding ecotour company called Wild Latitudes. Some places where Ivan leads natural history tours are Mexico, Iceland, Alaska, Uganda, and Fiji.”
Of course, I had to listen to the podcast so I chose the latest one which was about doves and pigeons. Ivan said the podcast was meant to be entertaining, informative, and lighthearted, which it was, although the lightheartedness sometimes approached silliness. But no mind. It was a good podcast with interesting and accurate information. Nothing new to me in it, but I’m sure it would be informative to others.
The only very small bone to pick that I have is that of dove and pigeon names. Ivan correctly said there is no biological difference between a pigeon and a dove, and, drawing from his herpetological background, compared them to frogs and toads. There is no significant biological difference between frogs and toads, he says, but I disagree as there are significant differences in the typical toad and the typical frog, although with considerable overlap. Want to find out about the biological differences in frogs and toads? – Go here. Doves and pigeons differ not at all, although those birds with the dove name tend to be the smaller species.
But Ivan never got around to answering what I think is a pretty interesting question. If there is no difference in pigeons and doves, why the different names? (You can read that answer on one of my earlier blogs.) How about the frog and toad names? Frog is from Old English frogga, of Germanic origin, literally, “hopper.” Toad is from late Old English tadige, tadie, of unknown origin and was once applied to loathsome persons beginning in the 1560s.
Toads, frogs, pigeons, and doves, oh my. No matter. I recommend giving a listen to The Science of Birds.