In the 1930s, Robert T. Moore—explorer, poet, and ornithologist—set out to describe the birds of Mexico. By 1955, his trusted field hand Chester C. Lamb had collected 39,000 specimens from over 300 locations. After Moore died, the collection remained preserved, its wealth of knowledge waiting to be examined. Meanwhile, the habitats Lamb visited were forever altered. In 2017, the Moore Lab began revisiting Lamb’s site to see how human impacts changed the landscape and its birdlife.
Flocks of parrots are now a regular sight in Los Angeles, but it was not always this way. Parrots were brought to the city as pets starting in the late 1800s. Some escaped, others were released. By the 1960s, wild populations of a few species were established and began to grow. FLAPP uses community science and DNA to understand how our new parrot neighbors are interacting and evolving in their urban habitat.
Natural history collections are vital sources of knowledge about biodiversity, but their information is often difficult to access. Our oBird project seeks to bring museum specimens to the public and research community through 3D modeling.
The spectacle of spring bird migration is on full display at Bear Divide in the western San Gabriel Mountains. Led by Dr. Ryan Terrill, the Moore Lab is counting thousands of birds each spring morning as they pass over a low saddle in the mountains on their way north. The Pacific Coast has lacked a place to monitor diurnal bird migration similar to well-known East Coast migration hotspots like Cape May. The data we collect will help us understand how well birds are doing as they respond to changing habitats and climates.