Artwork by Paul Harris Jones
A friend and fellow non-birder was recently reviewing SAT study questions with her college-bound daughter. She came across this:
Skill 3—Example: Determine the meaning of a word when there is little or no supporting context.
Since other seabirds customarily nest in colonies on ocean cliffs and islands, the marbled murrelet’s ------- nesting in forests many miles from the sea must be considered -------.
A. ambivalence about . . hypothetical
B. indifference to . . bold
C. insistence upon . . evident
D. aversion to . . dangerous
E. predilection for . . atypical
The correct answer is E.
But more importantly than the correct answer is the fact that I have now exceeded my goal of making the Marbled Murrelet a household name: it is now on its way to becoming a college dorm name. Not only will this bird's atypical nesting habits will used by students having real, live conversations, but also by those with a predilection for communication via texting. The marbled murrelet's official code name is an easy-to-thumb MAMU.