Archive by category | Ornithology

Top 20 books: discovering worlds

Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

In terms of job satisfaction, discovering worlds must take the Sachertorte. Sibling astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, for instance, rejoiced in a haul that included Uranus, eight comets and several moons gleaned from what William called the “luxuriant garden” of the skies. Their final tally of deep-sky objects, with that of William’s gifted son John, numbered in the thousands. I’m sure their minds would be boggled by today’s exoplaneteering exploits — such as the TRAPPIST-1 system of seven Earth-like planets that fully emerged this year.  Read more

The ornithological photographer

Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus).

Many ornithologists use mist nets to capture birds briefly to collect key data or ring them before release. Photographer and birdwatcher Todd Forsgren has spent years working with researchers to freeze-frame those moments, now collected in Ornithological Photographs (Daylight Books).  He talks about the ethics of mist netting, the challenge of photographing hummingbirds, and upcoming projects such as photographing the lengths we go to to rescue critically endangered species.  Read more