Ornithologist David Allen Sibley, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds and illustrator for our Song Sleuth app, is widely considered to be one of the foremost authorities on North American birds.
While he collaborated with us, providing the beautiful artwork featured in our app, we decided to ask him about what he thought of technical birding tools, the future of birding, and whether or not he thinks he could outperform Song Sleuth (of course he can).
Q: As a kid, what was the most meaningful piece of gear for you as a birder?
David Sibley:The most meaningful, for me, was my sketchbook. Sketching is how i really engage with birds. Just going out searching and watching is rewarding and fun, but my most memorable and satisfying experiences involve drawing.
While most bird studies on sexual signaling have focused on between-pair interactions, Conor Taff has instead looked outward.
Taff, whose research has just been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, deployed 5 song meters across multiple territories to study male calling behavior in relation to the fertility of female birds in neighboring territories. His findings suggest that birds' sexual signaling behavior is much more complex than we may have thought.
Taff’s paper, Fluctuations in Neighbourhood Fertility Generate Variable Signalling Effort, discusses how male common yellowthroats adjust song production in response to changes not only in within-pair social contexts, but also to changes in the fertility of neighboring females up to 400 meters away.