Mark E. Hauber, ornithologist & author of “Bird Day: A Story of 24 Hours and 24 Avian Lives”

by | Dec 6, 2023

Mark E. Hauber—professor, ornithologist, and author of “Bird Day: A Story of 24 Hours and 24 Avian Lives”—recalls becoming seriously interested in birds at age four or five. This was in his native Hungary, where, as that little boy, he dragged his mother to view the Spring Migration. His passion for birds was precocious and unwavering—well, as a young man, there was a brief flirtation with attending vet school (he didn’t)—and along the way, he studied amphibians. And spiders. But in his telling, upon landing a scholarship to Yale, Hauber was firmly on a path to ornithology, and  he appears to have been zooming across that path ever since. And when he discusses pretty much any bird topic—his research, a colleague’s research, 3-D printed bird eggs, kiwis, the permits required to study birds, you name it—it comes out in a torrent of enthusiasm. So, there is zeal a-plenty as he notes that, beyond writing academic papers and other publications involved in being a professor, his desire to reach a mainstream audience prompted him to write “The Book of Eggs: A Life-Size Guide to the Eggs of Six Hundred of the World’s Bird Species,” written in 2014, and the just-published “Bird Day: A Story of 24 Hours and 24 Avian Lives.” He describes aspects of these high-concept collections books, including the impetus for writing them. We spend more time discussing “Bird Day,” chiefly because it’s new (it came out the day before), including some of the birds profiled. We start with the Brown-Headed Cowbird, cowbirds being a focus of Hauber’s work—also because females are so-called “brood parasitic,” meaning they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, We also touch on the Secretary Bird, the new book’s “cover bird,” also notable for killing their prey (snakes) with their feet. In winding up our conversation, we acknowledge that “Bird Day” features gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Tony Angell. (

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Matt Shelley, the organizer of Punks For Paws, an all-day extravaganza of punk music—featuring a dozen bands—happening Saturday Dec. 9 at Pinellas Ale Works in St. Petersburg. The proceeds of the concert will go to Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, also located in St. Pete. Shelley outlined the history of Punks For Paws, which he launched in 2019, owing chiefly to he and his wife and members of his band, Arcane Arcade, being animal lovers and fans of no-kill animal shelters, such as Friends of Strays. Shelley explained that Punks For Paws has become an annual event (not counting the pandemic period), and each show has raised between $2000-$4000 for Friends of Strays, with Shelley aiming to generate more dough at next year’s show. This year stands a better chance than usual of reaching that goal, he said, because they’re also selling a Punks For Paws compilation CD at the Dec. 9 show. (


COMEDY CORNER: Hannibal Buress’s “Pigeons Get Murked” (DS edit) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Rondellus’s version—in Medieval style—of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”


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