Singing Blackburnian Warbler, for Rob Porter's podcast Songbirding.
Klamath National Forest: Goosenest District species. For The Institute for Bird Populations annual report, 2020.
Black-backed Woodpecker as the Phoenix of California's wildfires. For The Institute for Bird Populations annual report, 2020.
White-crowned Sparrow on Peter Pyle's Identification Guide to North American Birds, for The Institute for Bird Populations' 2020 Annual Report. The guide is getting updated to a second edition and I'm so pleased to be part of the team working on the updates!
Mariana Kingfisher, for The Institute for Bird Populations.
Micronesian Myzomela, for The Institute for Bird Populations.
Figure illustrating potential sex differences in Cooper's Hawks.
Common songbirds of Saipan, for The Institute for Bird Populations.
Illustrations for Pyle et al. 2018. Evidence of widespread movements from breeding to molting grounds by North American landbirds. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 135:506-520.
Hammond’s Flycatcher, for Saracco et al. 2019. Phenology and productivity in a montane bird assemblage: Trends and responses to elevation and climate variation. Poster presented at the 2019 American Ornithological Society meeting.
Sierra Nevada wood boring beetles, for The Institute for Bird Populations
Bats of Plumas National Forest, for Blakey et al. 2019. Bats in a changing landscape: Linking occupancy and traits of a diverse montane bat community to fire regime. Ecology and Evolution 2019:1-14
Sierra Nevada bumble bees, for The Institute for Bird Populations
Cypriacis aurulenta (Golden buprestid beetle) for The Institute for Bird Populations annual report 2016 – the most commonly-captured beetle in burned forests sampled by the Sierra Nevada Observatory research team.
Black-headed Grosbeak, done for The Institute for Bird Populations, 2015.
Black-headed Grosbeak, done for The Institute for Bird Populations, 2014.
Emperor Geese, 2008
Corvus brachyrhynchos (American Crow), 2008
Buitreraptor gonzalezorum is a unenlagiine dromaeosaur from Cretaceous Argentina. Unlike more typical dromaeosaurs, it had very long, thin legs, as well as a long slender snout filled with small, strongly recurved and grooved teeth. Rather than hunting larger animals or living in packs, it appears likely that Buitreraptor captured smaller animals – mammals, lizards, and amphibians, for example. Others, however, including Scott Hartman, a well-known skeletal restoration artist, have speculated that Buitreraptor’s proportions and tooth shape suggest it may primarily have been piscivorous, making it the prehistoric equivalent of a heron or egret.
Yandangornis longicaudus is, as the name (“ornis”) implies, a bird. We think. It’s actually very hard to say. Like birds, it is fully-feathered and has a beak with no teeth. However, it also has a long bony tail, a short fourth toe, and other skeletal features that make it more similar to dinosaurs. Since birds are dinosaurs, the distinction is purely one of interest to taxonomists, who work to figure out which species are more closely related to which other species. From a taxonomic perspective, Yandangornis is a dinosaur, as are all birds – but whether or not it can be called a bird for sure is still up for debate. Discovered in Zhejiang Province, China in 1999 from a largely intact skeleton, we do know that it was more adapted for ground-dwelling than aerial or arboreal life, and was similar in size and habit to today’s roadrunners, likely chasing down insects, small reptiles, and primitive mammals on foot.
Epidexipteryx hui, another of the small feathered Chinese dinosaurs, is a bit like Scansoriopteryx from a previous entry, with one major exception – it had only simple feathers, with no flight feathers whatsoever, except for four very long ribbon-like tail feathers. They were likely boldly patterned and used for display purposes, though given that we only have one fossil of this species, it’s hard to say definitively. They, like Scansoriopteryx, had an elongated third finger, possibly for use in climbing or for reaching insects in small gaps and crevices in tree bark or rotting wood. The lack of flight feathers on the arms, however, suggests that this dinosaur wouldn’t have been able to glide if it did climb up into the trees, while its relative may have done so. Instead, this animal may primarily have been a ground-dwelling species.
Qiliania is the smallest-known non-extant dinosaur. Like other Enantiothornithines, it has developed a pygostyle instead of a long bony tail, asymmetrical wing feathers, and other traits that make it very similar to modern birds, though it still lacks a beak, and instead has a toothed snout. Whether these guys were capable of true flight, we’re not yet sure. Instead, it may have been primarily a ground-dweller, and used its wings for wing-assisted incline running (WAIR). Many ground birds today still do this, using their wings primarily to help propel them up a slope without truly leaving the ground for more than a few seconds, and it has been proposed that the use of WAIR by early winged dinosaurs eventually led to the evolution of powered flight.
Dilophosaurus wetherilli was considerably different from how it was depicted in Jurassic Park. At roughly the height of an adult human and 23 feet long, it was quite a bit larger, plus it lacked the lizard-like frill the movie gave it – and nothing indicates that it would have spit venom, either, though to be fair, it’s hard to completely rule out something like that. It seems unnecessary, though – in the Early Jurassic of western North America, it was already a large and formidable predator based simply on its heavy jaws and sharp teeth.
Similarly, no direct evidence of feathers exist in specimens of this dinosaur. One imprint of a sitting Dilophosaurus was once thought to show feathers through trace marks around the animal’s feet and abdomen, but later analysis indicated the markings may have been left by plants the dinosaur sat on, or perhaps were the result of erosion. Nevertheless, the chances are very good that Dilophosaurus was feathered, given how many of its relatives were.