Certain concepts in this world are difficult to define; like art (or certain other types of adult-oriented “art”), we may claim to know it when we see it, but can’t agree on the line that separates art from that which is not art. An example nearer and dearer to the hearts of avid birdwatchers is that of a species. What identifies a species? Clearly, we don’t all ascribe to the same operational definition of a species, especially since advances in science keep blurring the borders between species and subspecies. At least we find entertainment in lumping and splitting!
Fans of meta-analytical irony will note that the lines between different species of birdwatcher blur as well, from accidental observers to feeder watchers to field ornithologists all the way to serious bird scientists. Yet it is obvious that most of these groups overlap substantially, even if acknowledging that makes it tough to stereotype other birders.
Greg Laden can attest to how challenging these issues of species and race can be from both a professional and avocational perspective. Greg is a scientist who promotes understanding of evolution, a leading science blogger who writes quite a bit about nature, and a birdwatcher who may or may not classify his level of commitment using our conventional terms. He’s also been a steady supporter of I and the Bird over the years and takes the helm once more with a special Bird Vocalization edition of I and the Bird #144.
After a gross of editions, do we have more to say? I certainly hope so! Our next host is dynamic Dave Ingram of Island Nature, but after that, we’ve got nothing! The time has come to reload for the spring and summer, so step right up and volunteer to host I and the Bird. Slots are assigned on a first come, first served basis but new hosts receive special treatment. And don’t forget to send your submissions for the March 3 IATB to me (mike AT 10000birds DOT com) or Dave (dave AT islandnature DOT ca) by March 1!