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Ethnoornithology at Montpelier – Birds and People: Research From Four continents – CISE 2012

A look at some of the work being undertaken across the globe by researchers and indigenous people with an interest in birds, people, cultures and the land and environments that they share – from the 13th International Society of Ethnobiology Congress at Montpelier, France in May 2012.

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Ethnoornithology at Cherokee, North Carolina

I’m at Cherokee in North Carolina for the 37th annual Society of Ethnobiology meeting and, as I’ve done on a few occasions before, I’ll be chairing a session dedicated to current developments and research on the subject of ethnoornithology – the study of the relationships between human cultures and birds. This year’s meeting will be [...]

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Burning down the house. When rats & snakes take their revenge.

Only in Texas. “We were trying to kill a snake with fire,” the woman said during a 911 call. “It done caught the house.”

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Birds, Fire and Culture – a new research project

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that some species are active promoters of fire in the northern Australian savannah landscapes, using small fire-sticks and embers to spread fire throughout the open grass and woodlands of the semi-tropical north.

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Amadeo Rea: on namkams, coyote sickness and perceptions of reality in the greater southwest

Part Two of a conversation with Amadeo Rea, taxonomic ornithologist and ethnobiologist who has spent most of his life working with the Piman people of the greater south-western American deserts.

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Fifty years in the desert – the ethnobiological life of Amadeo Rea

A friend of mine, who was just finishing the manuscript for Birds of Arizona with the University of Arizona Press said “Why don’t you find out from your old Indian friends what the river was like when it ran and what birds were there?”

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Leave no child ashore – a school trip into the “dark heart of the deepest woods” of Mississippi

“The next challenge will be to reach the White River. A route will have to be scouted through the briars, snake-infested woods and alligator swamps. The explorers will then manually portage all of their gear and canoes from the Arkansas River to the White River, a process that might require one long dirty day.”

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Apocryphal tale of the week? Sydney Airport, terrorism and the frozen croissant.

“It’s terrorism.” she says. “The croissants have to be refrigerated because Sydney Airport says that if they aren’t then they could be used by terrorists so we have to refrigerate them.” That comment went through to the keeper until “terrorism” & “croissant” fell together in the back-blocks of my jet-lagged brain as unlikely companions. “What did you say?” “The croissants. We have to heat them up because Sydney Airport says so. It’s a terrorist thing.”

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Ethnoornithology Abstracts from the 35th Society of Ethnobiology meeting, Denver, Colorado

A real highlight for me was catching up with Amadeo Rea, whose magistral book “Wings In The Desert ” on the ethnoornithology of the Northern Piman peoples is one of my all time favourites. I’m looking forward to bringing my interview with him to these pages soon.

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Why am I in Columbus, Ohio?

I gave up attending conferences without presenting at them a long time ago and this year I’m giving two presentations tomorrow in a session dedicated to ethnoornithology and titled “Birds in historical, cultural & archaeological context” where we will “examine birds and human culture in a variety of contexts, including birds, humans and fire, birds and archaeology and what happens when birds, birders and sacred and ancient grounds meet.”

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