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

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.

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.

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.

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.
Sandhill Cranes. In the 1680s, English minister and educator Charles Morton theorized that birds migrate to the moon for the winter.

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.