When calls went out for suggested speakers I nominated a friend I met while developing eBird, whom I've stayed in touch with ever since, Ted Floyd. Since 2002 we've run into each other at various meetings, American Birding Association conventions, and even stood outside at 4:30 AM on a cool Colorado fall morning listening to nocturnal migrants. If you've interacted with Ted, either live at birding festivals, workshops, or conferences, or indirectly through his writing (primarily for Birding, the ABA's flagship publication, which he edits) I'm sure you'll agree that he is one of the most interesting people to engage with: you never know where the conversation will lead.
Ted suggested a talk that he had been ruminating on, which seemed perfect for the typical Monday Night Seminar audience. A combination of birding, birds, evolution, science, and philosophy entitled, "Charles Darwin, Roger Tory Peterson, and the future of birding."
The abstract read,
The year 2009 will mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds and the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, arguably the two most important books in the history of birding. This seminar will identify a major conflict between Peterson's and Darwin's worldviews, then look at how tension between Peterson and Darwin was largely avoided in the 20th century, and finally examine how tension between Peterson and Darwin is inevitable in the early 21st century--with significant consequences for how we appreciate and understand birds and nature.You can watch Ted's talk online (it runs about 45-50 minutes, if memory serves) along with other presenters from the Monday Night Seminar Series. If you do watch/listen, please comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts!