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Birds are fascinating to watch, and not just because they are beautiful. Did you ever see a bird do something funny and ask yourself, “Now why did that bird do that?” Understanding bird behavior can be tricky, but Kevin will provide us with a framework to help comprehend and appreciate why birds do the things they do. Birds aren’t tiny little flying people, and they don’t have the same needs and motivations that we do. But, the way they accomplish their own goals can be amazing. Can you think like a bird?

Kevin J. McGowan Ph.D., Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Kevin is a professional ornithologist and avid birder. He is currently the project manager for Distance Learning in Bird Biology in the Education program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He is the author and instructor for the courses “Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology,”  “Investigating Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry in Birds,” “Think Like a Bird: Understanding Bird Behavior,” and the Be a Better Birder series of courses and webinars on bird identification, offered through the Lab’s Bird Academy website.

Kevin was the co-editor and primary author for the book, The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, one of the creators of the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website, and the former curator of the bird and mammal collections at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates.

Kevin received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of South Florida, studying the social development of young Florida Scrub-Jays. He has studied the behavior and biology of the American Crow in central New York for 30 years. He has followed the life stories of more than 2,500 individual crows, some for over 19 years.

Kevin is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, a former Secretary of the Ornithological Societies of North America, a past president of the New York State Ornithological Association, and a former member of New York State Avian Records Committee.

Kevin enjoys all aspects of birds (especially crows), from behavior to functional anatomy, and from ecology to evolution.  He is interested in spreading the appreciation of birds to all possible audiences, through all possible avenues.


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