Program – Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration

Date & Time

Wednesday, April 19, 2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Faulkner Gallery,
Santa Barbara Central Library
40 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Flight Paths is the never-before-told story of how a group of migration-obsessed scientists in the 20th and 21st centuries engaged nearly every branch of science to understand bird migration—from where and when birds take off to their fl ight paths and behaviors, their destinations, and the challenges they encounter getting there.

Bird enthusiast and science writer Rebecca Heisman will trace the development of each technique used for tracking migratory birds, from the fi rst attempts to mark individual birds to the cutting-edge technology that enables ornithologists to trace where a bird has been, based on unique DNA markers. Along the way, she’ll share the almost-forgotten stories of the scientists who harnessed breakthrough inventions to further our understanding of nature.

Heisman will speak about how the real power of science happens when people rk together, focusing their minds and knowledge on a common goal. While the world looks to tackle massive challenges involving conservation and climate, the story of bird migration research off ers a beacon of hope that we can fi nd solutions to diffi cult and complex problems.

Rebecca Heisman is a science writer based in eastern Washington who loves nerding out about birds. She’s contributed to publications including Audubon Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Hakai Magazine, bioGraphic, Living Bird (the magazine of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), and Bird Conservation (the magazine of the American Bird Conservancy).

From 2015 to 2020, she worked for the American Ornithological Society (AOS), the world’s largest professional organization for bird scientists. First as an independent contractor helping promote research published in AOS’s scientific journals, and then as its fi rst full-time communications staff er, Heisman used social media, blog posts, and more to bring cool bird science to the broader scientific community and the public. While at AOS, she became intimately familiar with the North American ornithological community and got excited about the varied and wonderful methods for studying bird migration.

Courtesy of Chaucer’s, books by the author will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Presented by the Santa Barbara Audubon Society and the Santa Barbara Public Library

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