The  Birds

Dr. F. Keith Barker

Associate Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota; Curator of Genetic Resources, Bell Museum of Natural History

The Birds— Bird Brains

Have you ever wondered what a bird is thinking? It might be a whole lot more than you'd expect. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Keith Barker led a discussion on new discoveries that suggest our feathered friends are far more intelligent than we ever thought before. Part of the 2016 National Evening of Science on Screen.

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul Minneapolis, MN

Film Synopsis

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.

Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic, about frenzied feathered flocks that terrorize a quiet community, is one of the Master of Suspense's most anxiety-inducing films. After chic socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets handsome lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco bird shop, she pursues him to the small California coastal town of Bodega Bay, where he spends weekends with his possessive mother (Jessica Tandy) and younger sister. Shortly after she arrives, a seagull swoops down and pecks her on the forehead. Gradually, ordinary birds in the hundreds and then thousands alight on the town and start attacking everyone and everything with increasing aggression.

About the Speaker

Dr. F. Keith Barker received his PhD in evolutionary biology in 1999 from the University of Chicago. Subsequently he was a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and then a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota, where he is now an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota, and Curator of Genetic Resources at the Bell Museum of Natural History. His research is focused on the phylogeny and diversification of passerine birds.