Rebecca Heisman

Contributor, Audubon magazine

Rebecca Heisman is a freelance science writer based out of Walla Walla, Washington. She is the author of Flight Paths (March 2023, Harper Collins), about the history, science, and quirky personalities behind bird migration research.

Articles by Rebecca Heisman

A yellow, black, and white warbler stands on a thin, mossy branch and looks up into rain, against a dark green background.
All North American Birds Named After People Will Soon Get New Names
November 01, 2023 — After years of consideration and little news, this week's announcement by the American Ornithological Society caught many birders by surprise.
A brown and white eagle with a large yellow beak flies past the tops of pine trees.
When Birds Get Lost, Space Storms May Be to Blame
June 05, 2023 — New analysis of 60 years of bird banding data shows that vagrancy increases during periods of geomagnetic disturbance.
A yellow bird in flight, blue sky in the background.
Migrating Male Birds Race Ahead to Keep Up with Spring’s Early Arrival
January 26, 2023 — New research finds females are lagging behind males as they try and keep up with earlier springs driven by climate change.
A plain, light-colored bird sings while perched on a mossy branch dappled in sunlight.
How Merlin Bird ID Helped Me Discover the ‘Elevator Music of Birding’
August 25, 2022 — After the seemingly magical song identification app helped me discover the Warbling Vireo's song, I now hear it everywhere I go.
Silhouettes of large birds fly across the a pink and gray sky in a line. A large full moon in centered in the frame behind them.
A Brief History of How Scientists Have Learned About Bird Migration
April 13, 2022 — Researchers today can follow birds' paths as they fly thousands of miles. But it wasn't always that way. Scroll through more than two centuries of advances in understanding this natural wonder.
A Pandemic, a Cancer Diagnosis, and a Year List Like No Other
December 18, 2020 — How birds became a thread of sanity through my tumultuous year.
Everyone Has a Bird Question They’re Waiting to Ask
January 16, 2020 — If they’re paying enough attention to birds to ask questions, they’re halfway to becoming an advocate for wildlife.
Seagull or Gull: Who Really Cares?
September 26, 2018 — When birders reflexively correct common names like "seagull" or "Canadian goose," they may turn newcomers off the hobby altogether.
In a Surprising Scientific Find, Enormous Crab Kills Booby on Camera
November 10, 2017 — A researcher studying coconut crabs in the Chagos Islands never expected to capture gruesome video evidence of one preying on a Red-footed Booby.
What's at Stake: Training a Generation of Scientists
September 21, 2017 — Ellen George has barely begun her scientific career studying a little—and a little-known—fish called the cisco. Proposed budget cuts to graduate funding and fisheries science threaten to cut it short.