Author Archives: Joan E. Strassmann

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis

Birding the Western Ghats in Southwest India

The Western Ghats! A hottest hot diversity site recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and known also poetically as Sahyadri. The trick is how to penetrate this land of elephants and tigers, past the pot-holed roads and shrines. … Continue reading

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Birding as a world citizen: ten tips

My favorite way to bird is related to the slow food movement: stay local, stay focused, and stay appreciative. So how can I keep to my principles when I bird in places as far away as the Western Ghats in … Continue reading

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Fourteen secrets of a Portuguese bird guide

There are many reasons to bird Portugal. We were lucky to have Bernardo Barreto as our guide. As always with birds, we learned more about life than just about birds. Look under every bridge, into every thicket, and at every … Continue reading

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Birding from Lisbon, Portugal

Bernardo Barreto picked us up in his dark Ford at 7:30 from the Hotel Berna. We drove northeast out of Lisbon, crossing the Tagus on what might be called the third bridge, upstream from the 25 April bridge, half closed … Continue reading

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Mexican-Ecuadoran secrets of the tufted jay, Cyanocorax dickeyi

Don’t you wonder why birds are where they are? Have you been on one of those guided birding trips where you hop in and out of the van spending ten minutes here, or five minutes there, to see the most … Continue reading

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Scissor-tailed flycatchers at Mount Doom in Missouri

Scissor-tailed flycatchers (Tyrannus forficatus) are highly uncommon in Missouri, but there is a pair nesting right by Mount Doom and yesterday we saw them flying in the distance, against the rocky nuclear waste site. The bird guides do not put … Continue reading

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Birding the California coast at Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara

Walk the same route over and over so you can get to know the common birds for that place     and notice the rarer ones. Here is a walk I took for three weeks while working at the Kavli Institute … Continue reading

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