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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index O > Category: Ornithology

Ornithology Quotes (16 quotes)

At a distance in the meadow I hear still, at long intervals, the hurried commencement of the bobolink s strain, the bird just dashing into song, which is as suddenly checked, as it were, by the warder of the seasons, and the strain is left incomplete forever. Like human beings they are inspired to sing only for a short season.
(29 Jun 1851). In Henry David Thoreau and Bradford Torrey (ed.), The Writings of Henry Thoreau: Journal: II: 1850-September 15, 1851 (1906), 275.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (96)  |  Commencement (6)  |  Forever (42)  |  Hear (33)  |  Human Being (54)  |  Incomplete (14)  |  Inspire (35)  |  Meadow (12)  |  Season (24)  |  Sing (9)  |  Song (18)  |  Strain (8)

Birds sing sweetly; but someone awakened by them at 5 A.M. of a summer morning might dispute the adverb.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 197.
Science quotes on:  |  Awaken (8)  |  Bird (96)  |  Dispute (15)  |  Morning (31)  |  Sing (9)  |  Summer (26)

He is a fool who lets slip a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush.
Plutarch
In 'Of Garrulity, or Talkativeness', Plutarch's Lives (1874), Vol. 4, 229. Plutarch refers to this as a common “saying”, so, he did not originate it but the saying dates back to at least his era.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (96)  |  Bush (8)  |  Fool (70)  |  Hand (103)

How lavish nature has adorn’d the year
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring,
And birds essay their throats disus’d to sing.
Science quotes on:  |  Blue (30)  |  Primrose (2)  |  Sing (9)  |  Throat (10)  |  Violet (4)

I hear the scream of a great hawk, sailing with a ragged wing against the high wood-side, apparently to scare his prey and so detect it—shrill, harsh, fitted to excite terror in sparrows and to issue from his split and curved bill. I see his open bill the while against the sky. Spit with force from his mouth with an undulatory quaver imparted to it from his wings or motion as he flies.
(15 Jun 1852). In Henry David Thoreau and Bradford Torrey (ed.), The Writings of Henry Thoreau: Journal: IV: May 1, 1852-February 27,, 1853 (1906), 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Bill (14)  |  Detect (9)  |  Excite (12)  |  Fly (65)  |  Harsh (7)  |  Hawk (2)  |  Prey (9)  |  Scare (5)  |  Scream (4)  |  Shrill (2)  |  Sky (68)  |  Sparrow (6)  |  Terror (16)  |  Wing (36)

I heard there the nightingale in all its perfection: and I do not hesitate to pronounce that in America it would be deemed a bird of the third rank only, our mocking-bird and fox-coloured thrush being unquestionably superior to it.
Letter (21 Jun 1785) to Mrs. John (Abigail) Adams. Collected in Paul Leicester Ford (ed.), The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: 1784-1787 (1894), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  America (74)  |  Bird (96)  |  Hear (33)  |  Nightingale (2)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Superior (30)  |  Thrush (2)

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. One has to sit still like a mystic and wait. One soon learns that fussing, instead of achieving things, merely prevents things from happening.
First essay collected in Solomon in All his Glory (1922), 12. Also seen reprinted titled 'Kingfisher' in The New Statesman (1921), 17, 619. “Solomon in All His Glory” refers to a kingfisher, the subject of the essay.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Bird (96)  |  Fuss (2)  |  Happening (32)  |  Mystic (10)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Observe (48)  |  Prevent (27)  |  Silence (32)  |  Wait (38)

It is much better to learn the elements of geology, of botany, or ornithology and astronomy by word of mouth from a companion than dully from a book.
'Concord Walks'. The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1904), Vol. 12, 176.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Botany (47)  |  Geology (187)  |  Learning (174)

Just after sundown I see a large flock of wild geese in a perfect harrow cleaving their way toward the northeast, with Napoleonic tactics splitting the forces of winter.
(31 Mar 1858). In Henry David Thoreau and Bradford Torrey (ed.), The Writings of Henry Thoreau: Journal: X: August 8, 1857-June 29, 1858 (1906), 336.
Science quotes on:  |  Cleave (2)  |  Flock (3)  |  Goose (9)  |  Split (11)  |  Tactic (6)  |  Winter (22)

Philosophy of Science is about as much use to scientists as ornithology is to birds.
Attributed. Frequently quoted, but primary source is lacking. For example, Steven Weinberg quoted it in a talk at the Tercentenary Celebration of Newton's Principia, 'Newtonianism, Reductionism and the Art of Congressional Testimony' (See Nature (3 Dec 1987), 330, No. 6147, 433). Weinberg states “I’ve heard the remark (although I forget the source).” Any attribution to Stephen Weinberg is thus incorrect, although it appears thus in, for example, the Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations. Other sources most often attribute the subject quote to Richard Feynman, though still without a documented source. So Webmaster moved the quote from the Weinberg page to this Feynman page 1 Jul 2015. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (96)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)

Scientists and Drapers. Why should the botanist, geologist or other-ist give himself such airs over the draper’s assistant? Is it because he names his plants or specimens with Latin names and divides them into genera and species, whereas the draper does not formulate his classifications, or at any rate only uses his mother tongue when he does? Yet how like the sub-divisions of textile life are to those of the animal and vegetable kingdoms! A few great families—cotton, linen, hempen, woollen, silk, mohair, alpaca—into what an infinite variety of genera and species do not these great families subdivide themselves? And does it take less labour, with less intelligence, to master all these and to acquire familiarity with their various habits, habitats and prices than it does to master the details of any other great branch of science? I do not know. But when I think of Shoolbred’s on the one hand and, say, the ornithological collections of the British Museum upon the other, I feel as though it would take me less trouble to master the second than the first.
Samuel Butler, Henry Festing Jones (ed.), The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1917), 218.
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The crack-brained bobolink courts his crazy mate,
Posed on a bulrush tipsy with his weight.
In poem, 'Spring', collected in Grandmother's Story: And Other Poems (1883, 1903), 75.
Science quotes on:  |  Court (16)  |  Crazy (11)  |  Mate (6)  |  Pose (5)  |  Weight (61)

The swallow is come!
The swallow is come!
O, fair are the seasons, and light
Are the days that she brings,
With her dusky wings,
And her bosom snowy white!
In Hyperion: A Romance (1839), Vol. 1, Book 2, 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Bosom (8)  |  Season (24)  |  Swallow (14)  |  White (38)  |  Wing (36)

There are still many unsolved problems about bird life, among which are the age that birds attain, the exact time at which some birds acquire their adult dress, and the changes which occur in this with years. Little, too, is known about the laws and routes of bird migration, and much less about the final disposition of the untold thousands which are annually produced.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (96)  |  Research (517)

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he, “Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo!” O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!
In Love’s Labour Lost (1598), Act 5, Scene 2, line 904.
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[Audubon’s works are] the most splendid monuments which art has erected in honor of ornithology.
Introduction by Jas. Grant Wilson's to John James Audubon and Lucy Audubon (editor), The Life of John James Audubon: the Naturalist (1869), iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (205)  |  John James Audubon (9)  |  Erect (3)  |  Honour (23)  |  Monument (19)  |  Splendid (8)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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