Birds, Birding, and Bias
Two scientific thinkers discuss “Bird, Birders, and Bias” at an informal, online Science Pub RVA program presented by VPM and happening in the Zoom environment.
“Detection Probability” with Dan Albrecht-Mallinger
How conspicuous or cryptic a bird is to an observer depends on the species, habitat, time of year, and the Birder him or herself. The single most important tool we have in avian conservation is the Birder. To detect population declines, wildlife scientists rely on volunteer efforts, including Christmas Bird Counts and the Breeding Bird Atlas. Understanding detection probability–the likelihood of observation–requires an exploration of natural history, human learning, and the core question of the scientific process: how do we know what we know?
“Birding While Black” with John L. Ditto, Jr., M.D.
A Hollywood comedy about men competing in a bird counting contest, “The Big Year”, ignited Dr. Ditto’s curiosity and he’s been bird watching ever since. Dr. Ditto will discuss his birding passion, share tips, and tell stories about his experience #BirdingWhileBlack and beyond. Along the way, he’ll share facts and insights about some of his favorite birds, including those frequently visible in Virginia’s backyards.
Dan Albrecht-Mallinger recently figured out how to breathe into his mask without fogging his binoculars, which has immeasurably improved his experience of social distancing. Dan works for VCU’s Center for Environmental Studies, teaching undergraduate classes on sustainability, environmental history, and applied statistics. He has worked with birds since 2006 and completed his M.Sc. at VCU studying Golden-winged Warbler conservation in Virginia’s Appalachian counties
John L. Ditto, Jr., M.D. carries a humorous “black man card” in his wallet gifted to him by office colleagues who jested that his birding hobby could lead to identity confusion. Dr. Dittos is a board-certified Otolaryngology head and neck surgeon. He received his medical degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Ditto received his ENT surgical training at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan and has published in the Archives of Otolaryngology. He has served as the Richmond Audubon Society’s Field Trip Coordinator and occasionally leads birding field trips on their behalf.