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Michael S. Webster

Spring 2007

Bright plumage against green foliage: the grandeur and beauty of evolution

“Art can be considered as a behavior . . . like play, like food sharing, like howling, that is, something humans do because it helps them to survive, and to survive better than they would without it.” —Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why, Ellen Dissanayake ’57

I open my hand and the little wren, momentarily startled by its newfound freedom, flutters quickly to the nearest bush. I stand in the hot tropical Australian sun and watch as the tiny bird flits from branch to branch, a black- and red-feathered jewel. I have just captured this little bird, collected a page full of data … » More …

Fall 2008

Return to Warden's Grove: Science, Desire and the Lives of Sparrows

Spying on birds in the far north

Warden’s Grove is a tiny cluster of spruce trees in the generally treeless expanse of the north Canadian tundra, and Christopher Norment – who received his master’s degree from WSU in 1982 – spent three long summers there studying sparrows; this excellent little book is his account of those summers. Readers expecting a tale of high arctic adventure will be disappointed – there are no attacks by ferocious grizzlies, no horrifying acts perpetrated by men made desperate by starvation, and no daring escapades by intrepid explorers of the last frontier. Instead, Norment delivers a tale of patient waiting … » More …