tip off

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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The Nature and Culture of Birds

In a famous example, Ralph Bulmer explained that the Kalam of the highlands of Papua New Guinea consider the cassowary not as the bird that science classifies it as but as akin to mammals, and not because it possesses peculiar physical features but because it is perceived as an untrusty affine.

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Birds, culture, language & people at the 33rd Society of Ethnobiology meeting

The conference theme, “The Meeting Place” is well represented by the Grouse and the other Atla’gimma spirits who gather in the ceremonial “bighouse” to share in the song of sacred interactions that keep the forest ecosystem alive. Just as each Atla’gimma character has their own dance, every ethnobiologist has their own discipline and interests. But, the synergisms of shared knowledge, like the magic of each Atla’gimma spirit dancing to the same music, is far more powerful than the sum of the parts.

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Womens Agenda

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Smart Company

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StartupSmart

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Property Observer

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