The Scientific Scobberlotching of Hubert and Mable Frings

 
9780692507339: The Scientific Scobberlotching of Hubert and Mable Frings
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Hubert Frings talks about how scientists think. He and Mable followed their natural curiosity into a life of pioneering research and discovery.  Others might ignore some things animals do, but the Frings identified behavior that was potentially interesting and focused their attention on it. They asked questions, designed experiments to understand, interpreted the results with insight, and furthered the knowledge of animal physiology and behavior. For example, when asked to reduce the problem of starlings roosting in buildings and hangars in State College, Pennsylvania, they found that capturing more than one bird at a time for lab tests was difficult because the captured bird would give a loud shriek and the rest of the flock would fly away. Frings observed that the flock did not return to the same location on following nights, and recognized that this was significant. They recorded the shriek, played the recording to other starlings in roosts, and saw that the flocks would also fly away and not return. They had discovered the starling “distress call.” Additionally, they noticed that if crows of different species lived near each other, even seasonally, they responded to each other’s (different) distress calls. Crows that did not live near other crow species did not respond to the other’s distress calls. An observation that parallels human miscommunication today.  Most of all, they shared their fun and enthusiasm for their scientific scobberlotching. They enjoyed involving students in research, and telling stories to classes of students about animal behavior and its bigger picture. Royalties of this book will be sent to the endowment of the Hubert and Mable Frings Scholarship at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

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Frings, Hubert William
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