seminar notification

To: "'chat line'" <>
Subject: seminar notification
From: "Barbara Allan" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 15:33:31 +1100

University of Canberra


Institute for Applied Ecology Seminar Series 1/2005


Special Seminar




Presenter: Professor David Bird

Date: Tuesday February 7th

Time: 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Location: Room 11, Level B, Building 6, University of Canberra

Admission: Free




The world of technology  has clashed with the world of raptors in many devastating ways over the last several decades, e.g. organochlorine pesticides like DDT, collisions with automobiles, planes, powerlines, and now windmills, a supposed environmentally-friendly energy source.  The organochlorines have now been replaced with the less persistent but more highly toxic organophosphates such as fenthion which is used as an avicide.

Military jets and ospreys are at war in the skies over Labrador.

Electromagnetic fields from powerlines are impacting upon physiological systems of raptors nesting and roosting on them.


On the other hand, in many ways technology is coming to the rescue of  birds of prey, as well as other birds. Two amazing developments in technology that

are now being applied to raptors come to mind.   First, the use of DNA

analyses in the laboratory to produce genetic fingerprints unique to each bird revolutionized our ability to identify individuals.  Now DNA is widely used in forensic science, taxonomy,  behavioural ecology, and other research.  A particular  use is determine the extent of monogamy in birds and raptors may well be among the few avian taxons that do not cheat on their mates.

Second, attaching tiny transmitters that bounce signals off satellites circling the earth now allow biologists to follow migrating raptors, e.g.

golden eagles, peregrine falcons, etc., from their breeding grounds south to their wintering areas as well as the return trip north. Satellite telemetry, despite its current high cost, can achieve in a year what it normally takes dozens of years to do by traditional banding techniques.  It is now being applied to peregrine falcons nesting in cities to determine whether they are sources or sinks for the population.

Dr. David M. Bird, Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre, and his graduate students have been studying all of the above aspects of technology, both good and bad, on raptors for the last 16 years .



About the speaker:


As a professor of Wildlife Biology and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Dr. David Bird has published over 150 scientific papers on birds of prey, supervised 30 graduate students, and teaches several university-level courses, including one on scientific communication.  He has written and/or edited several books, including ³City Critters: How to Live with Urban Wildlife², ³Bird¹s

Eye-View: A Practical Compendium for Bird-Lovers², and ³The Bird Almanac: A Guide to Essential Facts and Figures on the World¹s Birds².  Dr. Bird is a past-president and current vice-president of the Raptor Research Foundation Inc. (an international organization devoted to birds of prey), former vice-president of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, an elected Fellow of the American Ornithologists¹ Union, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Birding Association, and an elected member representing Canada on the prestigious International Ornithological Committee.  Besides his innumerable public lectures and radio and television appearances, Dr. Bird is a regular columnist on birds for The Gazette of Montreal and Bird Watcher¹s Digest magazine.



Everyone Welcome !!


For the full list of seminars for this semester,  visit our web site at



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