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Birds and people

Call for Papers - Ethnoornithology symposium at AOC 2019, Darwin 3 - 5 July 2019

Call for Papers - Ethnoornithology symposium at AOC 2019, Darwin 3 - 5 July 2019

Ethnoornithology is the study of the relationship between people and birds, and in recent years the field has emerged as a valuable source of ethnobiological research.  Ethnoornithology provides an opportunity to empower people of all cultures to discover, re-examine and preserve the connections between individuals, groups and cultures and the birds that they hunt, venerate and cherish.

The trouble with shit-hawks - the firespreading raptors of northern Australia

The trouble with shit-hawks - the firespreading raptors of northern Australia

A post that looks at our research into firespreading raptors in the Top End of Australia ... and beyond.

Singing Wardaman Country, one Gouldian Finch at a time.

Singing Wardaman Country, one Gouldian Finch at a time.

This is a re-post of an article first published in the February 2018 edition of Land Rights News (Northern Edition) by the Northern Land Council. Birds are closely connected to Wardaman culture. Many Wardaman dances have been adapted from bird movements and much Wardaman rock art depicts birds.

Firehawks: avian pyromaniacs may have used fire before humans

Firehawks: avian pyromaniacs may have used fire before humans

This has major ramifications for land use and conservation across Australia's northern savannahs and potentially beyond. Changed fire regimes by Europeans from those practiced for millennia by Aboriginal people wrought dramatic changes on the Australian landscape, a factor which imperilled (and continues to imperil) the existence of many native species. How do we account for birds as another potential fire vector?

"Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia," Bonta et al. Journal of Ethnobiology, 37(4) (abstract)

In a broader sense, better understanding of avian fire-spreading, both in Australia and, potentially, elsewhere, can contribute to theories about the evolution of tropical savannas and the origins of human fire use.

The Muckaty trial - the curious titfer and the media circus

The Muckaty trial - the curious titfer and the media circus

"Oh," I remark and after identifying Emu, Bustard and Black Kite feathers I remark that maybe he needs some colour and should be on the look out for some Red-tailed Black Cockatoo feathers.

"Birds in culture and context—Ethnoornithology in application and theory"—abstracts from an ethnoornithology symposium, 2007

Following are the abstracts of papers and posters presented at the recent Ethnoornithology Symposium, entitled “Birds in culture and context – Ethnoornithology in application and theory“, held during the 30th Society of Ethnobiology conference at the University of  California, Berkeley from 28 to 31st March 2007. It was a great day, with a quantity and quality of papers […]

Return of the Storm-bird - the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

Return of the Storm-bird - the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

I've been very interested in cuckoos generally—and Channel-billed Cuckoos in particular—for a few years, especially in relation to the knowledge that Aboriginal language groups here in the Northern Territory and beyond have about them. I'd love to hear any information that groups outside of the areas discussed in the post may have—feel free to drop me a line or post a comment.

Word of the Day: Zosterops (Silver-eye)

Word of the Day: Zosterops (Silver-eye)

Zosterops (ZOS-ter-ops). Girdle eye, from the Greek zoster, girdle, and ops, eye. Their common name of white-eye or speirops (Greek spiera, circle, and ops) aptly describes the birds of this genus, with their wide ring of feathers around the eyes. There are 98 species of Zosterops, one of the largest genera in the bird world.

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem:

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem: "make the sun come up" (Anmatyerr)

The nyarew cuckoo [Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo] sings out from hollow trees, or maybe from a forked branch. The nyarew sings out all night, and makes the daylight come.