Science on Tap
Monday, December 10, 2018
6:00 PM-7:00 PM
Audubon’s Famous Bird Banding Experiment: Fact or Fiction?
John James Audubon has been hailed as the first bird bander in America, but the high rate of natal philopatry in banded Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) that he reported is an outlier when compared to modern data. More troubling, a reconstruction of the timeline of events with multiple independent primary sources, shows that Audubon was not in Pennsylvania when he claimed to have re-sighted two banded phoebes there in 1805. These facts cast doubt on the veracity of his story.
About Science on Tap:
Science on Tap is a monthly gathering in Philadelphia that features public discussion on engaging science topics. Held in a relaxed, bar setting on the second Monday of every month, Science on Tap features a brief, informal presentation by a scientist or other expert followed by lively conversation. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people.
About the Speaker:
Matthew Halley is a scientist and historian from southeastern Pennsylvania, who has authored numerous articles about the evolution and history of American birds and birding. He is best known for his research on the Nightingale-thrushes (genus Catharus) and for locating and exposing lost artifacts and manuscripts that have reshaped the public understanding of ornithological history. Halley lives in Philadelphia, where he is a PhD candidate at Drexel University, Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and Editor of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) and its journal Cassinia.