And now, a word from Dr. Tiberius Shaw, Ph.D.


I, as you may know, am Dr. Tiberius Shaw, PhD, legendary ornithologist, sculptor, writer, and mysterious bird guru. I am writing to you today from a secret campsite, tucked far away from the bustling world.

Because you are a keen observer with an inquiring mind — I will let you in on some observations of my own…


Crows and ravens are part of a family of birds known as corvids, and their intelligence, memory, and persistence is legendary. Some corvids have an intelligence on a par with the great apes. They have long memories. They have theory of mind. They can shape small tools to help them get to food, and are tremendously resourceful and patient. I’ve watched a crow try for an hour, one method after another, try to crack open an oyster. He succeeded, naturally.

And so, here is my advice:

Be like the corvid — be smart. Be persistent. Try new and different approaches to problem-solving.


And now, then… What can we learn from the beautiful Trumpeter Swan?


The lesson, here, is simple. Try to attain to the swan’s level of beautiful calm — even though you may be frantically paddling, underneath.


Remember, when things are a turmoil: Fake it till you make it.
Appear calm.

turkey vulture

Ah, the turkey vulture, poor maligned creature. Yet without him, dead, decaying animals would fester on the land, breeding disease. Luckily, the turkey vulture ingests and neutralizes carrion through its digestive tract, which kills all bacteria! Amazingly, disease-ridden roadkill comes out the other end of the vulture as sterile poop. Yes, it does.

And so the vulture’s message is clear: Do the hard, needed, important work. Do the dirty job. Even though it may be distasteful. Because the world needs it.


Thank you, dear friends, for tuning in today. But the sun is slowly sinking, and I must build a small fire and set up my tent before dusk.

I promise more bird entries soon — perhaps when I reach the next stopping point in my wandering journey through the back marshes and estuaries of our great nation.

Until then, peace be upon you.


5 comments to And now, a word from Dr. Tiberius Shaw, Ph.D.

  • Jeff Blackwell

    I was traveling through the Navajo Nation early one morning not very long ago. I noticed an elderly Navajo man setting up a table under a sun tent down the slope from the highway, miles from anywhere with a name on the map.

    Without a schedule or itinerary, I naturally was eager to stop and talk.

    He was setting the table with beautiful necklaces and bracelets made by friends and family. Not the expensive silver and turquoise you see in Santa Fe, but ones made mainly with local stones, simply strung.

    As we admired the jewelery, I asked him about the large Raven that had settled on the tent pole behind him and was giving me the one-eye as birds do when they are checking you out.

    “Is that your partner?” I asked.

    “Oh no. He’s here for you.” He said without smiling.

    “He knows I won’t feed him anything.”

    “He’s not sure about you.”

    • What a wonderful story!

      And what did the Raven ultimately decide, about you?

      I love that Ravens and Crows will offer gifts — often bright, shiny things they pick up in their travels — as a “thank you” to certain people who have consistently been kind to them, have fed them. There is a little girl in the U.K. who has boxes and boxes of crow-gifts. Perhaps this Raven felt somehow protective of the jewelry gifts displayed there…

      Thank you so much for sharing your story!


  • Lorie Schatti

    Thank you for your words of wisdom Dr. Shaw.

  • A young ‘monte’ boy brought two helpless baby parakeets, small and recently hatched, to our door in rural Eastern Venezuela one day. We were newly married and no children yet, so eagerly accepted the gift and set about to nurture them. We watched the Cream of Wheat inch down their naked featherless gullet – after Carol, my wife,fed them using an eye-dropper.
    The two thrived, grew feathers and soon developed into full-sized, but small green parakeets. They adopted Carol, their caretaker, as their mother, flying to her indoors and out, ensconced on her shoulders or hips or fingers, demonstrating their total confidence and trust in her as they awaited their next meal! It was a wonderful time….

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