Faces of AOS: Brian Peer Bio

• Email:

• Twitter Handle:

• My position with AOS:
Chair, Research Awards Committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor, Western Illinois University

• My current career stage:
Mid-Career Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
M.S. Advisor – Eric Bollinger, Eastern Illinois University
Ph.D. Advisor – Spencer Sealy, University of Manitoba
Post-doc Advisors – Scott Robinson, University of Illinois; Rob Fleischer – Smithsonian Institution; Steve Rothstein University of California Santa Barbara.
It was Scott Robinson’s Ornithology course at the University of Illinois that got me hooked on birds and changed my career forever.

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study birds that lay their eggs in the nests of others.

• My favorite bird and why:
Brown-headed Cowbird, obviously. The cowbird’s existence is entirely dependent on its ability to fool hosts. There was also a certain bilateral gynandromorph Northern Cardinal that I had the opportunity to study that was very neat.

• I am involved with AOS because:
It is my professional home.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Nowhere else can I find a group of individuals who share the same passion for birds as I do.

• Birds are important to me because:
Birds are omnipresent and I never ceased to be amazed by their fascinating behaviors.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
I’m interested in why so many cowbird hosts accept parasitism. I’m also interested in educating birders and scientists alike that the cowbird should be appreciated for what it is – a marvelous example of natural selection, rather than something that should be loathed.

• Fun random fact about myself:
I’m a big baseball fan – GO DODGERS!


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