'pOrnithology' and other matters of birds and birds and bees

Science is getting snazzier (and, perhaps, sexier) by the minute.

Witness: Wednesday night's Valentine's Day-related program at the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia is about the courtship rituals of birds. 

A male nighthawk's courtship display involves diving from a great height and changing course just before crashing into the ground. (Image from American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States by Alexander Wilson. Philadelphia: Harrison Hall, 1829. Collection of the Wagner Free Institute of Science Library.)

George Armistead, of the American Birding Association, "will review the interesting reproductive strategies and associated unusual behaviors of birds looking for a mate–essentially, what bird foreplay looks like!" the Institute says, with obvious gusto.

So, of course, they needed a catchy name, and they certainly came up with one: "pOrnithology: The birds and the birds and the bees."

The lecture begins at 5:30 p.m., and admission is free, although a donation is suggested.

Also in the catchy category: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is holding its "Paleopalooza" fossil event this Saturday and Sunday. "Get your fossil on!" the Academy urges.

Come learn about scales and dinosaurs, listen to the Diggity Dudes (a band whose members include "Mr. Molecule,") and watch out for the roving fossil juggler.

This is all just too much fun.

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