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Spencer Schaffner is an English professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Recent Activity
I've moved this blog over to Blogspot seems to let me do a bit more ... like host a blogroll. I've moved the posts from this TypePad space over to the blogspot site. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2010 at binocular vision
The ABA posted this powerful video about the environmental impact of cleanup efforts. Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2010 at binocular vision
Flickr makes it easy to follow how visual artists and graphic designers are responding to the growing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a roundup of some of the more powerful logos featuring birds. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm struck by how images... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2010 at binocular vision
It's the end of May, 2010, and BP's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill is turning out to be one of the biggest environmental disasters in recent memory. In fact, we have no idea how big it will get. The New York Times reports today that the recent effort to... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2010 at binocular vision
Field guides typically feature thriving, healthy-looking birds. But this guide takes another approach, featuring birds commonly killed as a result of flying into windows. The top part of the page on the American Woodcaock looks like this: The descriptions are supplemented with data on the numbers of each species that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2010 at binocular vision
Gavan Watson today posted the first of two planned blog posts responding to my recent piece on birding in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues. (This is his second post.) In the article he mentions, I discuss competitive birding at three toxic sites: EPA superfund sites, sewage treatment facilities,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2010 at binocular vision
In the 2010 medley of Superbowl commercials, this add from Audi hyping the Audi A3 TDI Clean Diesel wagon. The add is more than a little funny, and also more than a little strange. It seems to be going, up until the Audi driver gets off, toward a kind of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2010 at binocular vision
Robert Wilson has this terrific-looking new book, Seeking Refuge: Birds and Landscapes of the Pacific Flyway, due out in June from the University of Washington Press. In Wilson's work, he attends to birds in highly contentious, culturally contingent environments. From the blurb on the publisher's website: "Each fall and spring,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2010 at binocular vision
Opposable Chums is an interesting new documentary about the World Series of Birding, taking a humorously appreciative look at competitive birding. ............................ Michael Gitlin's recent film The Birdpeople (2004) takes a slightly more suspicious, introspective angle on birding. Gitlin watches birders in much the same way that they watch birds,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2010 at binocular vision
Bryan Brasher has this post about Bald Eagles at a dump in Alaska. Brasher quotes a friend who says "it's a real turnoff to watch bald eagles feeding in garbage piles with their regal white heads blackened from soot." Then Brasher includes this graphic images of eagles feeding at the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2010 at binocular vision
The New York Times has an article this week about birding tours of Fresh Kills, the mega-landfill in New Jersey. "The parks department, apparently hoping for a fresh start, is smashing the two words together and lower-casing the K. The project is expected to take decades, but the department hopes... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2010 at binocular vision
Over at, this animated .gif featuring several North American birds that get treated as pests. There are over 100 species considered invasive in North America, several of which were imported by people, but note that this .gif includes native species as well as non-native ones. While nuisance birds are... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2010 at binocular vision
At the bottom of the Bird-B-Gone website, this little .gif promoting the importance of bird identification in "deterring birds." Clicking the link brings you to this little field guide to 12 nuisance birds: Pigeons, Gulls, Geese, Starlings, Sparrows, Crows, Grackles, Swallows, Woodpeckers, Turkey Vultures, Great Cormorant, Great Blue Heron. Looking... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2010 at binocular vision
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Jan 29, 2010