May Meeting - Who are you Calling Bird Brain - Professor Wally Herbranson
Thursday May 19th 7:00PM - Room 157 Olin Hall




Who are you calling "bird brain"? Avian cognition in the lab. Pigeons are often viewed as an unremarkable bird species (even viewed by some as little more than a nuisance). Yet, the humble pigeon has proven to be a valuable contributor to the behavioral and cognitive sciences. Whitman College Professor Wally Herbranson will describe current research on cognition in pigeons, with a focus on how their abilities compare to those of humans. Can studying pigeons provide insight into the bases of memory, perception, and attention?

Are pigeons ever smarter than people? Let's find out. Wally received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Utah, and has been studying pigeon learning and cognition for over 20 years. He teaches courses on learning, comparative psychology, and neuroscience at Whitman College. His favorite part of each day is working with the 32 industrious white carneaux pigeons in the comparative cognition lab.





Field Trip: May 14th 8:00 AM - Juniper Dunes Wildnerness


Most people have heard of the BLM managed Juniper Dunes Wilderness, but few people have been there. If this description fits you, or even if you have been to the Juniper Dunes area, this is an opportunity to see a wilderness area unlike any other Washington wilderness. Sand dunes, native grasses, Washington’s largest remaining juniper groves, and sagebrush dominate the wilderness and are home to diverse wildlife.

Chris Howard is a frequent visitor to the Juniper Dunes Wilderness and will lead the field trip. For those of you not familiar with the wilderness, it is located several miles east of Pasco and north of the Snake River. We will be walking through sand dunes with little or no shade so bring your hiking boots, hat, and sunscreen; and wear appropriate clothing. We will be having lunch on top of a sand dune while enjoying the views, so plan to carry your lunch and plenty of water.

Meet at the Harper Joy Theater parking lot and we will car pool. We will return mid-afternoon. Please call Chris if you have any questions (509) 522-2374 or if you prefer, E-mail Chris


Field Trip: June 11th 7:30 AM - Spring Birds

Spring Bird

Join Rodger and Ginger Shoemake as they take a leisurely walk along Foster Road and South Fork Russell Creek Road looking and listening for summer migrants. By this time all the summer nesting birds should be back and nesting. We will be looking for yellow-breasted chats and other warblers, flycatchers, hummingbirds, vireos, Bullock's orioles, black-headed grosbeaks, house wrens and more. Early morning is the best time to see and hear the birds.

This will be a half-day trip and will involve some walking so dress accordingly. Bring water, a snack and a friend or two. Meet at Harper Joy Theater.

If you have any questions please E-mail Ginger

Field Trip: June 18th 8:00 AM - Wildflowers in the Blues


It’s time again to join Jeff Fredson and Cheryl Baker for a trip to the Tollgate area of the Blue Mountains to look for wildflowers (and butterflies and birds). We will start at Jeff’s place on Weston Mountain where last year’s highlights included Phantom Orchids and seeing baby bluebirds squeezed together in the bottom of bluebird boxes. Last year we saw 106 species of wildflowers at Summit Road, Target Meadows, Bald Mountain and other locations; exceeding the high of 80 species seen on previous field trips.

If you love wildflowers and mountain-fresh air, this is a field trip you do not want to miss. This will be an all-day trip and we will be doing a bit of walking. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Don’t forget to bring food, plenty of water, your binoculars, field guides and a friend or two.

Please call Jeff or Cheryl if you have any questions (541) 215-0532 or if you prefer, E-mail them.

New Start Time will be 8:00AM

Come join us as we walk around Bennington Lake on Tuesday mornings. It's fun to see what birds are present at different times of the year and to enjoy the changes of the seasons at the lake. The walks last 2-3 hours. We do not walk in inclement weather.

The start time for the walks will change with the seasons. For more information E-mail Ginger Shoemake

Fox Sparrow