In this issue: one species is now two, a possible three-way split, and discovering the mimicry skills of the  female Superb Lyrebird.

Cornell Lab eNews

September 2016

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle form. Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar via Birdshare.
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar via Birdshare.

Familiar Songbird May Be At Least Three Different Species  

Affectionately known to bird watchers as "butterbutts," Yellow-rumped Warblers are at the center of another discussion over what defines a species. In 1973, the Myrtle and Audubon's warbler species were lumped into one to create the yellow-rumped. But ornithologists may have had it right the first time. Read about what the DNA evidence suggests,
Which scrub-jay is which?
Photos by Maryann M. Eastman, and lee.karney2, both via Birdshare.

What Species Is This?

Until recently, if you said both images above showed a Western Scrub-Jay, you'd be right. But the species was just was split into two. Can you tell which is the California Scrub-Jay and which is the Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay? And don't forget to add a species to your life list if you've seen them both! Read more about the reason for this split and for other recent taxonomy changes.
Female Superb Lyrebird by Justin Welbergin
Female Superb Lyrebird. Photo by Justin Welbergen.

Discovery: Female Superb Lyrebirds Are Great Mimics

At long last the female Superb Lyrebird is emerging from the considerable shadow cast by her male counterpart. Though he is justly recognized for his terrific ability to mimic other bird species and ambient sounds, a two-year study by Cornell Lab researcher Anastasia Dalziell and colleagues finds the female is also a skilled mimic—you just have to know when to listen. Read about the discovery.

Two new Cornell Lab coloring books

Lab Bird Coloring Books Are Here

Birds bring color into our world--now you can return the favor. Two new adult coloring books from the Cornell Lab Publishing Group are now available. The America's Favorite Birds book features 40 species you helped choose by casting a quarter of a million votes. In Birds of Paradise, Lab scientist Ed Scholes is your guide on a coloring expedition that features some of the world's most extravagantly feathered species. Visit the Cornell Lab Publishing Group website and click “Free Downloads" at the top of the page to sample the pages, or use the code new4fall25 to get 25% off your purchase!
North American Ornithological Association conference logo

Story Sampler from the Front Lines of Ornithology

More than 2,000 scientists from around the world met in Washington, D.C., last month for the huge North American Ornithological Conference. Among the Cornell Lab contingent were four of our writers who offer a sampling of some of the great research stories waiting to be told. They include stay-at-home dad birds, heated hovering hummingbirds, and how chimney swifts pack themselves into such a tight space. Read more about some of the findings.
Bird Watcher Survey: Help us learn more about your bird-watching interests so we can create material that matters most to you. Take the survey.

Improve Merlin Vision: Help us train a computer to recognize birds! Just draw a box around each bird shown in the photos. Give it a whirl.

Take the September eBird Challenge: Submit 15 complete checklists with at least one “Flyover” code, and you could win a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars. Read More

Set Up Your eBird Profile Page: Share your birding stories with others and see all your sightings on a map. Find out how.

Fall Festivals: Lots of great autumn bird festivals coming up--including the Lab's 10th annual Migration Celebration, if you happen to be anywhere near Ithaca, New York, on September 17. See what's happening near you.

Join the Cornell Lab and Get a Free Gift

Gifts with Cornell Lab membership
Fall migration is here! Show your love of birds by sporting one of our special Cornell Lab member gifts. Join today to receive a free gift and exclusive member benefits.
As a member you’ll enjoy these great benefits:
  • Our award-winning quarterly magazine, Living Bird
  • Discounts for online bird courses, citizen-science projects, and purchases from
  • Free BirdNotes from our popular information series 
Please join us today and help support the Cornell Lab's critical scientific research and conservation efforts. Be part of a community that is continually enhancing their love of birds and contributing to conservation. Thank you!
Join Today!

Radio Series Highlights Nature's Sounds

A seven-part NPR series called "Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound"  traces the development of a "culture of listening." The creators of the series, Lab audio producer Bill McQuay, plus NPR's Christopher Joyce and Alison Richards, just won a 2016 Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  If you missed the series, you can listen online to what the judges call "A powerful showcase for radio and for studying sound to understand nature."

Attention Educators: Check Out These Resources

Child planting a garden

Garden Grants Are Back! BirdSleuth will award 10 grants to teachers who want to create or improve bird-friendly, kid-friendly gardens at their schools. Grants range from $500 to $2,000, thanks to our sponsor Alaska Fertilizer. Learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Free Webinar Series: Every month we offer a new webinar on topics ranging from evolution to gardens, and scientific inquiry. Check out the series and register.
Explore this Fall: Ignite curiosity with the "BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook.” Take kids on a scavenger hunt, do a sound map activity, and take bird watching challenges. Download your free copy.
Wild Bird Club

Join the (Bird) Club

Kids and parents can share their love of birds in the Wild Bird Club. Each month the club's website features a variety of activities, quizzes, bird news, and other tips. You can also sign up for a free monthly newsletter. The Wild Bird Club is jointly produced by the Cornell Lab and Pennington®, the Bird Food People.
Stay In Touch On Facebook: Please join our community of over 675,000 fans for a daily dose of bird quizzes, gorgeous videos, fascinating articles, and tons of photos.
Like on Facebook
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Copyright © 2016 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All rights reserved.

Update your information, manage subscriptions, or unsubscribe from Cornell Lab eNews


Unsubscribe from all Cornell Lab electronic communications