The Colbert Report – I’ve officially “made it”

Colbert Report - Baird's Sparrow photo

I’ve made the big time! My Baird’s Sparrow photo being shown during an episode of the Colbert Report.

As someone recently made me aware of, before shutting down as Stephen Colbert left the show, the Colbert Report used one of my photos on their show!  OK, it was just in a very tangential sense, with no direct mention of the photographer or anything, but still…cool to see something of yours pop up unexpectedly on a show like the Colbert Report!

The context was typical Colbert satirizing negative impacts of oil production in North Dakota on the habitat and wildlife.  I had done work looking at the impacts of land use change and climate on bird populations in the U.S., and once the paper was published, it got some play in the press, including, evidently, on CBS This Morning.  The Colbert Report used a clip from the CBS This Morning show that included my photo of a Baird’s Sparrow.

I often run across my photos at conferences and the like, as people just grab bird photos from the web when doing scientific presentations.  I also run across them on occasion elsewhere, but it is still cool to see it on a venue like the Colbert Report.

Eegads! A birdless week!!

No birds! No birding! The magical birding month of May, and a whole week without either! An unthinkable circumstance in nearly any situation!

This past week was indeed a rare May week for me where I did absolutely no birding, and it was definitely for a good reason. My son was competing in the World Finals of the “Odyssey of the Mind” competition in East Lansing, Michigan all week. Their team finished first in state for the right to compete in the World Finals, and it was our first time doing so. It was well worth a birdless week, even for a bird nut such as myself!

If you’re not familiar with Odyssey of the Mind, it’s billed as a ‘creative competition’. It consists of two parts. First, there are typically 6 problems presented to the kids many months before the competition starts. The kids choose one of the problems, and come up with a short skit that represents their solution to the problem. The second component is called “Spontaneous”, where at the competition itself, the team is presented a problem and are only given a few minutes to come up with a solution.

The World Finals brought 847 teams from across the globe to compete, including teams from Togo, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, South Korea, Great Britain, Germany, and more. Michigan State campus was pretty much owned by the kids these weeks, including all the dorms where the kids and parents stayed. One big highlight for our kids…they signed up for a “buddy team” and were given a team from Japan. What an incredible experience. We saw each other’s presentations, hung out in the dorms with them, and ate with them. A highlight was a formal Japanese tea ceremony, where the kids on our team were each individually, formally served tea, and then were taught to perform the ceremony for each of the Japanese boys!

A wonderful experience, and DEFINITELY worth a birdless week! I’m back now though…where are those binoculars… 😉

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