Wednesday, February 13, 2013


The Birds and the Birds and the Bees

An Illustrated Presentation By

George Armistead, American Birding Association

Lecture at 5:30 PM, open until 7:00 PM

In a spectacular courtship display, male nighthawks will dive from great heights and change course just before crashing into the ground. The abrupt change in direction creates a loud, booming sound as wind rushes over the wings.  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.

What does bird foreplay look like? We need only listen to the birdsong outside our window, glimpse a display of colorful feathers in the trees, or find an intricate nest in early spring. These courtship rituals, which come in many forms, serve to attract a mate for reproduction. Natural selection drives sexual dimorphism within bird species and shapes the tremendous diversity in appearance, song, and behavior between species. George Armistead will review the various, interesting reproductive strategies and associated unusual behaviors of birds—along with copious innuendo and anthropomorphism to keep the concepts in perspective.

George Armistead is the Events Coordinator for the American Birding Association. Prior to that, he guided birding tours for ten years, leading trips to all seven continents. He is also a Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. When not working on bird book projects, he spends his free time observing and photographing birds at his favorite haunts along the coast between Cape May, NJ, and Cape Hatteras, NC.












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