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kwinker

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  1. (The comments box on this survey can take a lot. Here are my thoughts.) Thoughts on changing the name of the Auk and Condor (Kevin Winker). I am glad to have the opportunity to submit some comments on the AOS Publications Futures Committee’s interim report. Having been on the publications committee and on Council in the past, I know the hard work and passion that members put into this on a volunteer basis. I appreciate those efforts. This is why the Auk and Condor are leading journals in our field. However, you can count me among those AOS member who would feel alienated from the society by changing the journal names. I think it needlessly distances ourselves from our longstanding successes and our strong history, and it does not offer clear, concrete gains. Below are some of the details behind my thinking. In reading the interim report I felt that some key aspects of journal impact factors (IFs) were missing. Several important things stick out: 1) There is an IF ceiling for taxon-specific journals. Although it is a flexible ceiling, it is not greatly expandable. Changing the name of the Auk or Condor can’t change this phenomenon. Only breaking out of being a taxon-specific journal could potentially do this, and in a highly competitive interdisciplinary environment that would not be a good move, particularly given the mission of the society. Because we are already a sector leader, there is very little upward mobility possible. 2) The well-understood phenomenon of IF inflation is not mentioned. But it is likely that both the Auk and Condor have experienced this along with other science journals (see data in the report and Larivière and Sugimoto 2018). The goal of a modest increase to 3.0 will likely be accomplished simply by staying the course (though I support several of the recommendations; more below). 3) Authors using IF to decide where to submit their papers are rolling the dice against heavy odds. Larivière and Sugimoto (2018) showed that for four journals in the biological sciences less than 30% of individual authors obtain a citation rate equal to or higher than the journal IF. Their summary is that “Given that less than a third of articles are likely to achieve the citation value of the JIF, the indicator is misleading for application at the individual level.” My own analysis (Winker 2011) showed no correlation between journal IF and numbers of citations, suggesting that other factors are far more important. The social factor of IFs—the journal marquee or venue, if you will—remain important, but in my analysis I recommended using IFs only on an order-of-magnitude scale (Winker 2011). In this respect, from the journal perspective maintaining our position among the top few journals in our discipline is our maximum achievable goal. Being there already indicates that tweaks, rather than full makeovers, are what is needed. From the author’s persepctive, journal IF is a decidedly poor metric for individuals, and authors are beginning to recognize this. 4) The citation counts that are so critical to IF values are highly skewed, hugely affected by a small number of high-impact papers. If we try to treat this as a normally distributed problem we will fail. Trying to change Impact Factor (IF) through mass psychology effort (e.g., journal name changes) is not likely to be very fruitful unless you are a lower-tier journal. There are easier and more incisive methods (e.g., Chawla 2018, Larivière and Sugimoto 2018). Recommendations 1.1 to 1.3 in the report (getting higher-impact papers) are sufficient and will work. 5) Comparison of IFs between disciplines is not considered best practice. Thus, Table 4 is problematic (Table 1 is not; those are our real competitors). The journals in Table 4 are not competitor journals in the sense presented: their missions are each different than ours and their audience and potential author pools are much broader. Yes, they might compete with us for some of our authors’ papers, but that is true of all better-ranked journals outside of our core discipline, and these will always exist, leaving us to chase these other entities forever and never catch them. Focusing on these is a fool’s errand. What it takes to be the top in our discipline is well in hand with Recommendations 1.1 through 1.3 (getting higher-impact papers). Finally, on IFs, its two-year basis is a shortcoming for journals like ours with very long half-lives. While I am glad to see consideration of the 5-yr IF in the report, for an author’s career and h-index the half-life might have greater relevance and be a stronger selling point. Generating more citations over a longer period than you can get with a journal with a short half life should be attractive in our discipline. Some additional thoughts on other arguments or issues presented in the report: The name change over 25 years ago for Ornis Scandinavica is not comparable and is thus almost irrelevant. That change moved the journal both clearly to English (for authors not members of the society) and to an international constituency, both of which the Auk and Condor already have. I would point to this case as an example of how a lower-tier journal can successfully do a makeover but then hit the same disciplinary ceiling that the Auk and Condor are alreay so close to. I can guarantee you we will not experience a similar boost; in fact, any boost would probably not be detectable from expected ongoing IF inflation. The argument that evaluation committees don’t know the stature of the journal might have been somewhat relevant two and three decades ago—although my discussions then with folks being evaluated e.g., for tenure, suggested to me that this was not a predominant experience. However, the lingua franca of IFs has rendered this largely immaterial. In my experience, evaluating committees routinely consider IF values today in their assessments, a necessary tool in an era of seemingly rapid increases in number of journal titles and our need to evaluate diverse faculty and applicants for positions and promotions (together with other data, of course). Ornithologists who perceive this as a potential problem have only to provide journal IF values in their CVs and cover material. And in this era of an explosion of new titles across biology, this is a useful move no matter what a journal’s name. Journal title is not correlated with impact. Read the current list of predatory online journals (https://predatoryjournals.com/journals/). This also means that a name is not likely to hugely affect submissions. If it was, The Lancet would be a dead end for human health research (spoiler alert—it’s not). Recommendation 1.4 on changing the journals’ names: While the present confusion is mentioned, it is not stated that this confusion is a self-inflicted wound that we caused ourselves by monkeying with the names before. That confusion will go even higher with new names, especially among the non-North American audience of readers and authors that we are supposedly targeting for increase participation. I would support open peer review, but not the revealing of reviewers’ identities if they wished to remain anonymous. There have been some intense discussions of this on social media, and it is clear the members of underrepresented groups and junior professionals are often very uncomfortable with this—to the point of not participating if they have to be identified. To provide them cover to be honest in their evalutations and to increase their participation, I think that option is critical to maintain. Finally, I suggest that we should publish monographs again but make them special articles in the journals. In sum, I ask why give up brand leadership and leadership in our taxon sector by name changes to try to eke out a few tenths of IF value? We are already a strong leader in our discipline, and everyone in our discipline knows this. A title change squanders that leadership for just a tiny potential gain. Literature Cited Chawla, D. S. 2018. What’s wrong with the journal impact factor in 5 graphs. Nature Index https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/whats-wrong-with-the-jif-in-five-graphs Larivière, V., and C.R. Sugimoto. 2018. The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects. arXiv https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.08992 Winker, K. 2011. In scientific publishing at the article level, effort matters more than journal impact factors: hard work and coauthors overshadow journal venue in acquiring citations. BioEssays 33:400-402. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/bies.201100020
  2. Thanks for this important, detailed update, Ellen. Nice to see a clear summary of this thicket of constant confusion.
  3. Collections-based Symposium & Round-table Discussion NAOC 2016 Date: Tuesday, 16 August 2016. 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). 11:30-12:30 - lunch 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Summary. The morning symposium will be “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education,” and the afternoon roundtable will be “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science.” Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology and to get involved in research. Pressing issues in collections management include data quality, complexity, and associated software; social media; destructive sampling; specimen transport; and permitting. Names and Affiliation of Organizers: AOU Collections Committee & Smithsonian Institution (contacts: Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky, and Kevin Winker) MORNING - SYMPOSIUM Title: “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education” Duration: 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). Description of Objectives and Topics: Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology through learning how to collect, prepare, and curate specimens. These experiences also provide students with opportunities to get involved in collections-based research activities. Conversely, students may contribute significantly to natural history collections through their potential involvement in a wide variety of activities. This symposium will discuss current initiatives to integrate natural history collections into undergraduate education. Each talk will focus on a different museum’s program. Our goal is to convey the relevance of museums for training the next generation of scientists. We also tie in the relevance of museums to conservation through discussions of specific research projects involving undergraduate students. Examples of conservation-focused work include studies on stable isotopes, resurveys, phylogeography, genetic change over time, trophic change, disease ecology, pesticide/toxicity studies, describing cryptic species, and species distribution modeling. This symposium will be of broad interest to both researchers and educators. We will highlight how students benefit from collections-based research experiences and how institutions benefit from having students work in the collections. Examples of benefits to undergraduates include hands-on learning with specimens in a formal curriculum, mentoring by collections staff and faculty, field experience, and development of a scientific identity. Benefits to institutions include help collecting and processing materials as well as opportunities for outreach and broader impacts. We will also discuss the use of collections in public outreach and educational programs, both university-affiliated and more broadly. Draft Schedule: 9:00: Very brief ( 9:00-9:15: Scott Edwards, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard Univ. AIM-UP! Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs 9:15-9:30: Anna Hiller, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. California Berkeley A 10-Year Retrospective on the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Undergraduate Program 9:30-9:45: Gene Hunt, National Museum of Natural History Natural History Research Experiences REU at the National Museum of Natural History 9:45-10:00: Peter Wimberger, Slater Museum of Natural History Research and Beyond! Integrating Natural History Museums into an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Environment 10:00-10:15: John Bates, Field Museum of Natural History The Future of Collection Databases: Training the Next Generation of Data Curators 10:15-10:30: Elizabeth Beckman, Museum of Southwestern Biology Approaches to teaching undergraduate evolutionary genetics using museum specimens and databases 10:30-10:45: John McCormack, Moore Lab of Zoology, Occidental College Molecular Research with Undergraduates Using Museum Specimens 10:45-11:00: Beth Wommack, University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates The Start of a Volunteer Program at the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates 11:00-11:30: General Discussion LUNCH BREAK 11:30-12:30 - lunch AFTERNOON – ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION Title: “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science” Duration: 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Description of Objectives and Topics: This round–table discussion complements the morning session, considering some of the most pressing issues in collections management today. It focuses on five or six areas: (1) An overview of data quality issues in this era of increasingly detailed desires and requirements and data management of data-rich collections and database software options. (2) The use of social media for collection-based activities. (3) The growing demands for destructive sampling of traditional specimens, and how and why various responses have evolved (including preserving more samples for destructive research). (4) Navigation of increasingly complex international issues in the movement of specimens and an overview of pressing permitting issues. The session will begin with a 5-minute introduction and end with a 30-minute general discussion. Leaders for each topic TBD; structure to be ~10 minutes of panel/leaders presentations and ~20 minutes of open discussion. We anticipate 2-3 panel leaders per topic. Outline: Introduction (5 min) Data Quality and Collection Digitization, including publication of data to global biodiversity portals. Data management of data-rich collections and database software options (55 min). Panel leaders: Carla Cicero, Craig Ludwig, Keith Barker. The challenges of effectively using social media and web-based outreach for collections-based activities (30 min). Panel leaders: Paul Sweet, James Maley, Ildiko Szabo. Destructive sampling, including new technologies, sampling requests, preserving multiple samples for destruction, and techniques (30 min). Panel leaders: Helen James, Garth Spellman, Kevin Winker. International issues, including loans, disease, specimen treatments, and an overview of pressing permitting issues (30 min). Panel leaders: Chris Milensky, … General discussion (30 min). Panel leaders: Kevin Winker, Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky.
  4. Collections-based Symposium & Round-table Discussion NAOC 2016 Date: Tuesday, 16 August 2016. 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). 11:30-12:30 - lunch 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Summary. The morning symposium will be “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education,” and the afternoon roundtable will be “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science.” Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology and to get involved in research. Pressing issues in collections management include data quality, complexity, and associated software; social media; destructive sampling; specimen transport; and permitting. Names and Affiliation of Organizers: AOU Collections Committee & Smithsonian Institution (contacts: Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky, and Kevin Winker) MORNING - SYMPOSIUM Title: “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education” Duration: 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). Description of Objectives and Topics: Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology through learning how to collect, prepare, and curate specimens. These experiences also provide students with opportunities to get involved in collections-based research activities. Conversely, students may contribute significantly to natural history collections through their potential involvement in a wide variety of activities. This symposium will discuss current initiatives to integrate natural history collections into undergraduate education. Each talk will focus on a different museum’s program. Our goal is to convey the relevance of museums for training the next generation of scientists. We also tie in the relevance of museums to conservation through discussions of specific research projects involving undergraduate students. Examples of conservation-focused work include studies on stable isotopes, resurveys, phylogeography, genetic change over time, trophic change, disease ecology, pesticide/toxicity studies, describing cryptic species, and species distribution modeling. This symposium will be of broad interest to both researchers and educators. We will highlight how students benefit from collections-based research experiences and how institutions benefit from having students work in the collections. Examples of benefits to undergraduates include hands-on learning with specimens in a formal curriculum, mentoring by collections staff and faculty, field experience, and development of a scientific identity. Benefits to institutions include help collecting and processing materials as well as opportunities for outreach and broader impacts. We will also discuss the use of collections in public outreach and educational programs, both university-affiliated and more broadly. Draft Schedule: 9:00: Very brief ( 9:00-9:15: Scott Edwards, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard Univ. AIM-UP! Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs 9:15-9:30: Anna Hiller, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. California Berkeley A 10-Year Retrospective on the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Undergraduate Program 9:30-9:45: Gene Hunt, National Museum of Natural History Natural History Research Experiences REU at the National Museum of Natural History 9:45-10:00: Peter Wimberger, Slater Museum of Natural History Research and Beyond! Integrating Natural History Museums into an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Environment 10:00-10:15: John Bates, Field Museum of Natural History The Future of Collection Databases: Training the Next Generation of Data Curators 10:15-10:30: Elizabeth Beckman, Museum of Southwestern Biology Approaches to teaching undergraduate evolutionary genetics using museum specimens and databases 10:30-10:45: John McCormack, Moore Lab of Zoology, Occidental College Molecular Research with Undergraduates Using Museum Specimens 10:45-11:00: Beth Wommack, University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates The Start of a Volunteer Program at the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates 11:00-11:30: General Discussion LUNCH BREAK 11:30-12:30 - lunch AFTERNOON – ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION Title: “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science” Duration: 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Description of Objectives and Topics: This round–table discussion complements the morning session, considering some of the most pressing issues in collections management today. It focuses on five or six areas: (1) An overview of data quality issues in this era of increasingly detailed desires and requirements and data management of data-rich collections and database software options. (2) The use of social media for collection-based activities. (3) The growing demands for destructive sampling of traditional specimens, and how and why various responses have evolved (including preserving more samples for destructive research). (4) Navigation of increasingly complex international issues in the movement of specimens and an overview of pressing permitting issues. The session will begin with a 5-minute introduction and end with a 30-minute general discussion. Leaders for each topic TBD; structure to be ~10 minutes of panel/leaders presentations and ~20 minutes of open discussion. We anticipate 2-3 panel leaders per topic. Outline: Introduction (5 min) Data Quality and Collection Digitization, including publication of data to global biodiversity portals. Data management of data-rich collections and database software options (55 min). Panel leaders: Carla Cicero, Craig Ludwig, Keith Barker. The challenges of effectively using social media and web-based outreach for collections-based activities (30 min). Panel leaders: Paul Sweet, James Maley, Ildiko Szabo. Destructive sampling, including new technologies, sampling requests, preserving multiple samples for destruction, and techniques (30 min). Panel leaders: Helen James, Garth Spellman, Kevin Winker. International issues, including loans, disease, specimen treatments, and an overview of pressing permitting issues (30 min). Panel leaders: Chris Milensky, … General discussion (30 min). Panel leaders: Kevin Winker, Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky.
  5. Collections-based Symposium & Round-table Discussion Date: Tuesday, 16 August 2016. 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). 11:30-12:30 - lunch 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Summary. The morning symposium will be “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education,” and the afternoon roundtable will be “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science.” Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology and to get involved in research. Pressing issues in collections management include data quality, complexity, and associated software; social media; destructive sampling; specimen transport; and permitting. Names and Affiliation of Organizers: AOU Collections Committee & Smithsonian Institution (contacts: Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky, and Kevin Winker) MORNING - SYMPOSIUM Title: “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education” Duration: 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900). Description of Objectives and Topics: Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology through learning how to collect, prepare, and curate specimens. These experiences also provide students with opportunities to get involved in collections-based research activities. Conversely, students may contribute significantly to natural history collections through their potential involvement in a wide variety of activities. This symposium will discuss current initiatives to integrate natural history collections into undergraduate education. Each talk will focus on a different museum’s program. Our goal is to convey the relevance of museums for training the next generation of scientists. We also tie in the relevance of museums to conservation through discussions of specific research projects involving undergraduate students. Examples of conservation-focused work include studies on stable isotopes, resurveys, phylogeography, genetic change over time, trophic change, disease ecology, pesticide/toxicity studies, describing cryptic species, and species distribution modeling. This symposium will be of broad interest to both researchers and educators. We will highlight how students benefit from collections-based research experiences and how institutions benefit from having students work in the collections. Examples of benefits to undergraduates include hands-on learning with specimens in a formal curriculum, mentoring by collections staff and faculty, field experience, and development of a scientific identity. Benefits to institutions include help collecting and processing materials as well as opportunities for outreach and broader impacts. We will also discuss the use of collections in public outreach and educational programs, both university-affiliated and more broadly. Draft Schedule: 9:00: Very brief ( 9:00-9:15: Scott Edwards, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard Univ. AIM-UP! Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs 9:15-9:30: Anna Hiller, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. California Berkeley A 10-Year Retrospective on the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Undergraduate Program 9:30-9:45: Gene Hunt, National Museum of Natural History Natural History Research Experiences REU at the National Museum of Natural History 9:45-10:00: Peter Wimberger, Slater Museum of Natural History Research and Beyond! Integrating Natural History Museums into an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Environment 10:00-10:15: John Bates, Field Museum of Natural History The Future of Collection Databases: Training the Next Generation of Data Curators 10:15-10:30: Elizabeth Beckman, Museum of Southwestern Biology Approaches to teaching undergraduate evolutionary genetics using museum specimens and databases 10:30-10:45: John McCormack, Moore Lab of Zoology, Occidental College Molecular Research with Undergraduates Using Museum Specimens 10:45-11:00: Beth Wommack, University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates The Start of a Volunteer Program at the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates 11:00-11:30: General Discussion LUNCH BREAK 11:30-12:30 - lunch AFTERNOON – ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION Title: “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science” Duration: 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session Description of Objectives and Topics: This round–table discussion complements the morning session, considering some of the most pressing issues in collections management today. It focuses on five or six areas: (1) An overview of data quality issues in this era of increasingly detailed desires and requirements and data management of data-rich collections and database software options. (2) The use of social media for collection-based activities. (3) The growing demands for destructive sampling of traditional specimens, and how and why various responses have evolved (including preserving more samples for destructive research). (4) Navigation of increasingly complex international issues in the movement of specimens and an overview of pressing permitting issues. The session will begin with a 5-minute introduction and end with a 30-minute general discussion. Leaders for each topic TBD; structure to be ~10 minutes of panel/leaders presentations and ~20 minutes of open discussion. We anticipate 2-3 panel leaders per topic. Outline: Introduction (5 min) Data Quality and Collection Digitization, including publication of data to global biodiversity portals. Data management of data-rich collections and database software options (55 min). Panel leaders: Carla Cicero, Craig Ludwig, Keith Barker. The challenges of effectively using social media and web-based outreach for collections-based activities (30 min). Panel leaders: Paul Sweet, James Maley, Ildiko Szabo. Destructive sampling, including new technologies, sampling requests, preserving multiple samples for destruction, and techniques (30 min). Panel leaders: Helen James, Garth Spellman, Kevin Winker. International issues, including loans, disease, specimen treatments, and an overview of pressing permitting issues (30 min). Panel leaders: Chris Milensky, … General discussion (30 min). Panel leaders: Kevin Winker, Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky.
  6. I remember the time I first met Joe. Allan Phillips had told me to look him up. I was working on Catharus thrushes at the USNM, and I heard this distinct gait coming, and then, when the walker got close, "Who the fuck is working in my thrushes?!" And I knew right away who it must be, and I stepped around the corner and said "You must be Joe Marshall. Allan Phillips told me I had to meet you. I'm..." Good times. Later, Joe wrote this piece (here copied unedited) for the book I edited, "Moments of Discovery" : "Bird Specimens Collected at Lake Olomega, El Salvador I have been reproached for some disembowelled bird skins collected at Lake Olomega—those from whom the carefully placed cotton stuffing was untimely ripped. The study skins were soaked in a boat accident. To save them I removed the body stuffing and tried to dry them, afraid they would rot in the tropical heat. An example is the Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhyhchus mexicanus) skin, serviceable for study but empty of stuffing. The circumstances are thus. The Vertebrate Paleontology Museum and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology together mounted an expedition to El Salvador in 1941-1942. It was led by Dr. R. A. Stirton from Paleo, who had accompanied Adrian van Rossem on an earlier expedition throughout El Salvador for the Dickey Collection in Pasadena. By January or early February of 1942 we arrived at the Olomega Rail Station for six weeks of collecting in the tropical deciduous forest on the far (south and west) side of the lake. Stirt arranged with the local fishermen to take us across the lake to a farmhouse, part of which (including the shaded porch) was rented from a hospitable farmer. In six or perhaps nine or a dozen huge dugout canoes we crossed the lake with our gear. At the farm house, Stirt paid off the boatmen and arranged for them to paddle us back in six weeks. As an afterthought, he called them back and paid them for that future return trip—apparently so he would not have to interrupt his geology work by returning. Stirt and Bill Gealey (geology) then trekked down river to the coast, returned in a couple of weeks, and went to another part of the country. On the appointed day of return, only one canoe showed up. The boatmen had long since spent their money and had lost interest in us. The one boatman took the personnel across to the station and then went back, presumably to make numerous trips to take our gear and specimens, packed carefully into the prefab pine boxes used by Paleo. But no! Just at sunset the canoe hove into view with all the boxes piled on. Just at the edge of the lake it tipped over, and as the load was carted to the station we could see water sluicing out of some of the boxes. One was a bird box, which I immediately opened and started taking cotton out of the few skins that were already soaked. The six weeks at Lake Olomega were most interesting zoologically. The personnel I remember being there were Milton Hildebrand (mammals), John Davis (herps), Joe Marshall (birds, with emphasis on complete skeletons), John Tucker (botany), and Nate Geer (cook). Old Nate was Stirt's uncle. We scraped aside our skinning tools, formalin, sawdust, and arsenic from the porch table when Nate brought out the meals. Milt Hildebrand kept a photographic history, especially of habitats, from start to finish of the expedition. Lake Olomega, the stream, deciduous forest, swamp forest, and lovely spring at the base of the nearby mountains teemed with wildlife. There were spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), Jabirus (Jabiru mycteria), and King Vultures (Sarcoramphus papa). The lake was full of birds, mostly big ones. Wild Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) males came into the farmyard to mate with the domestic Muscovy females. On my birthday, 15 February, I hired a boatman to paddle me on the lake, and I shot a wretched excess of specimens. Davis and Hildebrand pitched in and helped me save them. We wore greasemonkey coveralls as protection from ticks and their larvae. The seed ticks started as a spot on the pant leg if you brushed against vegetation, and this pod quickly grew as the thousands looked for a way to get at the skin, where they would burrow in and die. We carried twig whips to beat them off our clothes. Iguanas had the strange habit, when startled by our walking the trail beneath them, of doing a loud belly-flop onto the trail—like a gun shot, then running off. The day Stirt and Gealey returned from the coast, I had shot a crested forest eagle [probably Ornate Hawk Eagle, Spizaetus ornatus, ed.] above the spring that I could not find. Stirt went with me, and I pointed the exact direction it had flown. Stirt plunged into the dense woods, ticks and all, and came back with the gorgeous specimen, smelling of skunk—their favorite food. It turned out later that day that Hildebrand had a skunk in a trap at the spring. By late May 1942 we were all back in Berkeley, where Dr. Alden H. Miller generously arranged a curatorial assistantship for me to fill until I got drafted. Why did I not restuff the specimens at that time? I am clueless. Perhaps they had not yet arrived, as they had to be shipped overland on account of war danger at sea. I did, however, write up the Salvadoran bird novelties (Marshall 1943) for The Condor, which means that they must have arrived before I was drafted in November 1942. Things happened for me in that period after returning from El Salvador. Introduced to Elsie Rader by Paul Illg on a blind date, I married her on 19 August 1942 at the San Francisco Courthouse after a whirlwind, three-week courtship. Illg was best man. Dr. E. Raymond Hall thought I shouldn't rush. Mrs. Hilda Wood Grinnell had Don Hoffmeister take her car with me and our suitcases over to the Shaw Hotel in San Francisco. Elsie and I rented a little apartment on Eddy Street overlooking a park; she continued work at the Civil Service Commission and I commuted to MVZ daily on the Big Red Train into November."
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