As the HMNS Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Dr. Dan is known as ‘the guy with the most backbone’ in the museum! He curates four permanent exhibits at the museum, where he was worked as a full-time staff member since 1999. He has described 10 new species to date, and is very active in local (hmns.org/houstonwildlife) and international (Southeast Asia and Latin America) wildlife research, especially with gamebirds. Afflicted with the inability to ‘shake the nature bug’, when he’s not at work in the museum, one of his favorite things to do is scouting and exploring the great outdoors with his family.

Cool birds in strange places (and then some…)

bat falcon sitting on power post

The blog about the stray woodpecker in a cemetery was such a smash hit, that the clever folks in our PR dept. proposed taking it to the next level. My mind raced with possible sites to visit that would fall under the general theme of ‘Cool birds in strange places’, but invariably the best group […]

Enjoying Wildlife with Visual Impairments

Editor’s Note: This article, by our Wildlife curator Dan Brooks, PhD., was co-authored by HMNS Accessibility Programs Manager Matti Wallin and Marcia Moore, OD, FCOVD, ABO Diplomate of Bellaire Family Eye Care. Nearly everyone enjoys wildlife, but sometimes it can be challenging to get good views when you’re out in nature!  As February is Low […]

The Houston Urban Wildlife Project

While Earth Day undoubtedly evokes various emotions in people who are passionate about the environment, I don’t consider myself a very emotional person.  I think I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve had tears in my eyes since I was in my early teens.  However, one of those moments that I […]

Help Save Millions of Birds with the FLIP of a SWITCH

If you’ve ever visited the Oak Motte diorama in the Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife, we’ve attempted to recreate the spectacular scene of Spring migration along the Texas Coast.  Each and every Spring, 2.5-3.5 billion birds make their way north to the continental US to settle into breeding mode in a more ideal environment to […]

From the Curator: Aquatic Turtles of McGovern Lake

I’ve been doing aquatic bird surveys at McGovern Lake in Hermann Park for over a decade, but that will have to be a blog topic for the future!  Every now and then my son comes with me, and he’s pretty much a reptile-magnet.   We now have documented the following four species of freshwater turtles at […]

How Did We Get These Specimens? The Case of the Edward’s Pheasant

One of the most common questions I’m asked as Curator of Vertebrate Zoology is “Where and how do you get your specimens?” The standard answer is that they died of natural causes or from medical complications in captivity or at a wildlife rehabilitation facility, which is how we get the bulk of our specimens. However, […]

Tyger Tyger Burning Bright: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Written in 1794, William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” remarks on the ferocity of this large Felid. When my museum colleagues asked me to hammer out this piece, the first thing that ran through my mind was rejoicing at the opportunity to misspell the name of the tiger (Panthera tigris), as Blake did in what is […]

Update On Waugh bridge bat colony hit by Hurricane Harvey associated flooding

  By Tim McSweeny and Dan Brooks, Ph.D. Last year Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, with flooding covering streets, bayous and communities throughout Houston after the storm deposited about three feet of rain.  One of the many parts of the city affected by the storm was the colony of Free-tailed bats living under the […]