Bug guy gives bird talk

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2019 3:55pm
  • Life

An insect ecologist will be discussing an order of birds that was once accused of stealing milk from goats.

Coupeville resident Joseph Sheldon, who has a doctorate in entomology, is turning his attention to a highly diverse group of birds known as goatsuckers for the first program of the Whidbey Audubon Society’s season at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Coupeville Recreation Hall.

The goatsuckers is a diverse group of birds. They vary from the small known bird species to a most bizarre species with a wingspan of more than a meter that roosts in caves and uses echolocation to navigate. Sheldon will begin with a “forest” level survey of the order Caprimulgiformes as it is now constituted and then focus on some of the most interesting species, according to a press release from Whidbey Audubon Society.

“There are major changes going on in the classification of birds,” Sheldon said.

He’ll review the new information that is driving the changes that are taking place.

Sheldon received his bachelor of science degree at the College of Idaho in biology and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in entomology, insect ecology. For 36 years, he taught at Eastern College and Messiah College, both in Pennsylvania. He taught during the summers at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Science in Coupeville from 1987 to 2007.

Sheldon served as president of the American Entomological Society from 1991 to 1997 and as president of the American Scientific Affiliation from 1998 to 1999. He was invited to and presented expert testimony on the Endangered Species Act for the House Committee on Resources in 2004.

Sheldon retired to Whidbey Island in June of 2007. He is a founding board vice chair of Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, board secretary for Whidbey Island Theological Studies and a board member of Whidbey Audubon Society since 2016, serving as field trip chair, secretary and now member-at-large

The Coupeville Recreation Hall is located at 901 Northwest Alexander Street. The doors open at 7 p.m. for refreshments and socializing, followed by a short business meeting at 7:15. The presentation begins at 7:30. The public is welcome to attend this free program.

More in Life

Find cheddar from another udder at these local dairy farms

St. John Creamery and Glendale Shepherd produce goat and sheep cheeses, respectively.

Doughnuts to please all palates, even pooches: Popular Bayview shop offers vegan option

Whidbey Doughnuts at Bayview Corner working on new creations

Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record
                                Rob Schouten welcomes one of the newest sculptures to the sculpture garden at Rob Schouten Gallery in Langley.
Sculpture garden comes alive in downtown Langley

To say “it’s been a long time coming” is an understatement for… Continue reading

Guide offers tips for ‘Hiking Close to Home

Washington state is known for its flannel-wearing, IPA-drinking, nature-loving residents, and Whidbey… Continue reading

A pressing need: Cider events proliferate as apple season begins

Autumn means a lot of things on Whidbey Island, but one that… Continue reading

Service dogs compete in ‘Puppy Olympics’ at volunteer picnic

With tails wagging and ears perked, eager canine “athletes” dashed and demonstrated… Continue reading

Premier gypsy jazz violinist and guitarist Christiaan van Hemert will lead four workshops at the DjangoFest NW in Langley. Photo courtesy of WICA.
Gypsy jazz workshops draw musicians to DjangoFest

When gypsy jazz sashays through Langley next week, it certainly won’t be… Continue reading

Whidbey Island Indivisible group joins banner march protesting immigration policy

Whidbey Island lies off the main drag stretching from the Canadian border… Continue reading

Shaquille Walker, youth advocate at Ryan’s House for Youth, helps clean the kitchen at the drop-in center.
Ryan’s House celebrates 10 years of helping youth

Youth homelessness might be a hidden problem in Island County, but there’s… Continue reading

Most Read