Friday, July 3, 2015

"pOrnithology" and other matters of birds and birds and bees

What's in a science name? A whole lotta fun.

"pOrnithology" and other matters of birds and birds and bees

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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.)
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.)

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. 

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.

Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at sbauers@phillynews.com.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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