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Transform Your Understanding of Birds

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The Cornell Lab Bird Academy

Brought to you by the Cornell Lab, Bird Academy is continuing a century-old tradition of sharing the wonder and joy of birds far beyond our walls.

It all started with Cornell Lab founder Arthur “Doc” Allen, who opened the Lab’s doors to the public on Monday evenings for seminars created to celebrate the science and beauty of birds. We’ve never stopped in our mission to help people of all walks of life understand and connect with birds.

Whether you’re newly curious about what you’re hearing in your backyard, an avid birder with a life list to tend, or a budding ornithologist, Bird Academy’s team of biologists, educators, and designers are here to help you learn. Enjoy!

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From the Bird Academy Community

I found many more warblers this spring thanks to this class. I knew they were there and how to look and listen for them. I also trusted my observations more, the course gave me confidence.” Bird Academy Student Be a Better Birder: Warbler Identification

Thank you for this amazing opportunity to take a course like this. This is now my third course of yours that I have taken online at my own pace and I really love the format!” Bird Academy Student Think Like a Bird: Understanding Bird Behavior

I am recently retired and have found this one of my best new projects so far! It also makes my daily walks in a nearby park more interesting as I notice the birds more and try to identify them. It makes me appreciate birds and nature even more! Thank you!” Bird Academy Student Feeder Birds: Identification and Behavior

Great course. As a beginning birder, the soundscape picture really helped me visualize the parts of the bird songs and the little quizzes helped me remember what I learned. Was afraid it was going to be too daunting, but it was fun. Thanks so much.” Bird Academy Student Be a Better Birder: How to Identify Bird Songs

I have absolutely loved the courses. As a newer birder but an avid fan of birds, I have learned so much. Your classes are really well put together—excellent instructional design.” Margaret, Bird Academy Student Be a Better Birder: How to Identify Bird Songs

I wanted to let you know your techniques are working! … Waterfowl migration is happening now… I was able to identify three ducks that were firsts for me. The American Wigeon was distinctive with white flank and forehead even though very far away.” Susan, Bird Academy Student Be a Better Birder: Duck and Waterfowl Identification

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Get confident with your IDs, understand behavior, and even train in ornithology—find the courses that are right for you.

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First Observation of Hemoglobin M Saskatoon (ß63 (E7) His>Tyr(C-T)) in the Iraqi Population

Nejat Akar

1 Ankara University, School of Medicine, Pediatric Genetics Department, Ankara, Turkey

Çiğdem Arslan

1 Ankara University, School of Medicine, Pediatric Genetics Department, Ankara, Turkey

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Emin Kürekçi

2 Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Department of Pediatric Hematology, Ankara, Turkey

TO THE EDITOR

Hemoglobin M Saskatoon (ß63 His>Tyr(C-T)) is a rare hemoglobin variant that was first reported in Japan, fol- lowed by the US, Indonesia, Algeria, Russia, India, and Germany [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]. It was also reported in combination with another variant—Hb Hamilton [9]; however, it has yet to reported in the Turkish population [10,11]. The present report describes the first observation of this variant in an 9-year-old Iraqi boy that presented with fatigue and grey-blue discoloration of the distal extremities and mucous membranes since birth. Physical examination showed cyanosis and clubbing of the fingers and toes. Complete blood count, reticulocyte count, liver and renal function tests, and abdominal ultrasound were normal. Echocardiography and angiography showed no abnormality. Blood gas analysis showed an O2 saturation of 91% and a methemoglobin level of 24.5%. Capillary hemoglobin electrophoresis showed hemoglobin M (Iwate or Saskatoon). Family history was unremarkable.

PCR amplification of the b-globin gene was performed using primers F:5’-GGTTGGCCAATCTACT CCCA GGAG-3’ and R:5’-GCTCACTCAGTGTGGCAAAG-3’ for exons 1 to exon 2. For exon 3 PCR amplification was performed first using the primers F:5’-CAATGTATC ATGCCTCTTT GCACC-3’ and R:5’-GAGTCAAGGCTGAGAGATACAGGA- 3’ for a 861-bp fragment, and then using the primers 5’-TGCATATAAATTGTAACTGAT-3’ and 5’-CACTGACCTCCCACA TTCCC-3’ for nested amplification. Direct automated sequencing of all amplified regions of the b-globin gene was performed using an automatic sequencer (Beckmann Coulter, USA). Two different sets of PCR reactions with forward and reverse amplification were performed.

The second exon amplification showed that the variant was a missense mutation at codon 63 coding for C to T transition that leads to histidine substitution by thyrosine, which was previously described as Hb M Saskatoon ( Figure 1 ).

There are several hemoglobin variants that cause cyanosis, of which Hb M Iwate was reported previously in the Turkish population [1,10,12]. This is the first observation of Hb M Saskatoon in an Iraqi Turkish boy. The clubbing of fingers in the propositus is an unusual finding, as patients with Hb M do not have clubbing. Despite thorough investigation, including cardiovascular procedures, we could not determine the cause of clubbing; however, Mast et al. reported 3 brothers with congenital recessive methemoglobinemia due to homozygous NADH diaphorase deficiency [13]. One of the probands had marked digital clubbing, also an unusual feature of that disease. Although HbM Saskatoon is primarily a non-hazardous disease, as HbM is susceptible to oxidative stress it is advisable to avoid oxidative drugs.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT

None of the authors has any conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests, relationships, and/or affiliations, relevant to the subject matter or materials included.

Top 10 Bird Feeding Mistakes

Craig Nash / Flickr / Used With Permission

It is easy to get started feeding birds, but novice birders often make simple mistakes that can keep birds from enjoying the feeders. While some mistakes only make feeders unattractive, others can endanger the birds or even drive them away. Feeding birds requires more than just putting out birdseed, and avoiding these top 10 bird feeding mistakes can ensure a healthy, nutritious buffet for a wide range of bird species to enjoy.

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