Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse The Scientific Wonder of Birds
for the excellent in-depth overview of the world of birds.

The Scientific Wonder of Birds
Lectures by Professor Bruce E. Fleury

The Scientific Wonder of Birds
(2018) - 12 lectures, 6 hours
The Scientific Wonder of Birds at

Birds are endlessly compelling and fascinating creatures. Millions of people around the world engage in the organized activity of birding, and countless more enjoy casually watching our avian neighbors in their daily activities. But beyond what we can observe on the surface, birds are phenomenally interesting—and often extremely surprising—in their biology, physiology, aerodynamics, and their multifaceted behavioral adaptations.

Birds are among the most ingenious and resourceful of living creatures, and astonishingly more intelligent than we often imagine. A few amazing aspects of birds and their behaviors include:

  • Avian research reveals sophistication of birds’ tool use and vocal communication that were thought to be exclusive to primates and humans;
  • Birds’ diverse sexual and mating habits show uncanny similarities to human behavior;
  • Among nature’s most amazing vocalists, North America’s brown thrasher can learn and retain over 1,000 songs; and
  • Evidence suggests that birds are able to appreciate aesthetic beauty.

In The Scientific Wonder of Birds, biologist and bird expert Professor Bruce E. Fleury of Tulane University guides you in a spirited discovery of the amazing beneath-the-surface world of birds—their evolution, fascinating lives in the wild, and the science that underlies their adaptations and behaviors. The Scientific Wonder of Birds is, in many ways, a companion course to our popular Guide to Birding in North America, casting a wider net as it delves into bird life and behavior around the world, as well as revealing the marvels of birds’ physiology, psychology, brainpower, and the complexities of their remarkable lifestyles and habits.

Uncover the Amazing Biophysics of Bird Life and Behavior

In these 12 vividly illustrated lectures, Professor Fleury reveals numerous enthralling aspects and features of bird life. Beginning with an excursion into the ancestry and evolution of birds, you’ll discover how birds are directly descended from dinosaurs. In probing into the process by which agile, bipedal reptiles took to the air, you’ll explore the miraculous mechanics of flight, and the many physiological adaptations that keep birds aloft.

From there, you’ll study the science of their remarkable feats of navigation and the complex matter of avian migration. You’ll delve into further elements of bird life, such as their foraging and feeding strategies, birdsong and bird calls, the language of plumage, courtship behavior, mating and roosting, avian territorial behavior, and more. Professor Fleury presents everything with an infectious passion for the subject, an often humorous perspective, and a deep knowledge based on a lifetime of birding and bird study. Whether you’re an experienced birder or a newcomer to the bird world, these lectures will surprise and delight you, and give you a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity of our feathered friends.

Bruce E. Fleury is a Senior Professor of the Practice Emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. After discovering a love of birding and taking an ornithology class at Tulane, he earned his MS and PhD in Biology from Tulane and went on to become an award-winning biology teacher there. Professor Fleury is the author of Dinosaurs: A Guide to Research, an award-winning reference book, and How to Flunk Out of College, a survival guide for students, as well as numerous popular and professional articles.

12 Lectures - 27 minutes each

1: Birds and Dinosaurs: The Origin of Flight 7: Avian Turf Wars: Defending a Territory
2: Birds and Boeings: The Magic of Flight 8: Bird Songs and Calls: Music with a Message
3: Burning Bright: Avian Adaptations for Flight 9: Avian Mating: Lady's Choice
4: Orientation, Navigation, Migration: Bird Road Trips 10: Avian Mating: Singles Bars and Bachelor Pads
5: Bird Brains: Tool Wielders and Snack Stealers 11: Nests and Eggs: A Home in the Sticks
6: Birds of a Feather: Flocking and Foraging 12: Parental Care: Bird Family and Friends


The Scientific Wonder of Birds
Lectures by Professor Bruce E. Fleury

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse The Scientific Wonder of Birds
for the excellent in-depth overview of the world of birds.