Alex Evans
Alex Evans. Photo provided by Alex Evans

Alex Evans is a science communicator and educator with a background in animal flight research. He can be found on Twitter (@alexevans91) and might one day return to blogging about birds and bioscience at https://birdbrainedscience.wordpress.com/

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

An elderly golden retriver named Elsa and she’s the best dog in the universe.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

If there’s a household item that exists with birds on it, I probably own it. I also recently got a gorgeous Charles Darwin quote print as a housewarming present!

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Savory

7 Do you speak any other languages?

No

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Maybe become a vet? I would love it, but I don’t think I could face more time studying and training.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Probably mathematics, I never used to enjoy it at school but now I’m fascinated by it – thanks Numberphile!

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Australia, I’ve never been but would love to see that side of the world.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

mm…Teleportation – goodbye commutes, traffic jams and car emissions.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Ooooooooooh… that’s tricky. I’ve been listening to the Reply All and Criminal podcasts a lot recently and they’re both superb explorations of funny/interesting/harrowing human stories, so I’d recommend those to anyone.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Spend some time outside with nature, and some time indoors playing board games and video games with friends. One of my favourite things in the world is visiting my MSc coursemates and doing precisely these things for a whole weekend, pure magic.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My phone, my glasses and someone to talk to.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Cider is my drink of choice, typically the fruity variety – but I’m also partial to a bit of mead in the winter!

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

I can’t think of any books that we covered in lessons that positively shaped me, but the Harry Potter books and the Edge Chronicles really fostered my love of reading.

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A pilot – and I ended up training many birds to fly during my PhD, so I wasn’t too far off!

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Happiness.

19 What got you excited in science?

Natural history museums and David Attenborough, they really forged my interest in the natural world. I don’t remember doing much science at primary school, but I loved doing experiments and going on field trips at secondary school, which is why I ended up choosing that route at university.

20 What excites you about science now?

Getting to share it with a new generation of young scientists.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I’m a firm believer in not being ashamed of what you enjoy, but even I hesitate to admit the amount of trashy reality TV I watch with my wife.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

My arms are surprisingly flexible, and they can do some creepy twisty things that they probably shouldn’t do.

23 What is your favorite game?

Video game: What Remains of Edith Finch.

Board game: Betrayal at House on the Hill..

24 What is the last book you read?

My Favourite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, it’s wonderful. Beautifully written with great art, solid recommendation – although only volume one is available and volume two is in mysterious publishing limbo, so who knows when this story will be wrapped up.

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

To not compare myself to others. I still do it way too often and Twitter can be one of the worst places for it, but I’m learning to enjoy my own achievements rather than compare them to the achievements of others.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Get a tattoo. I’d like one and I have a few ideas in mind, but there just hasn’t been anything I’m ready to commit to yet!

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Life will change, but the things you enjoy won’t. In 10 years, you will find yourself eating pizza and easter eggs in the bath while watching Recess on your phone and answering questions about being a scientist.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Watching something I love and have seen a million times before (usually a comedy show or something by Pixar).

29 What is the last thing you watched?

The first two episodes of Tuca and Bertie on Netflix (I MEAN C’MON IT’S BIRDS). Enjoying it so far!

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A dead turtle that I found on my doorstep when I was setting off for a lecture. It was in my bag for the whole day because I just had no idea where it had come from or what to do with it.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Secretary bird, no question. Graceful, deadly, agile, beautiful. They have incredible shades of orange all over their face, eyelashes and legs for days, a crest like no other, floofy little leggings and a killer heel for stamping on snakes. The Xenomorph from Alien is described as “the perfect organism” but HAVE THEY SEEN A SECRETARY BIRD?!

32 What is your favorite book?

Watership Down by Richard Adams. I first read it as a book when I was young, then had it as a book-on-tape for years afterwards. I would put that tape on every night as I fell asleep and drift away to the story. It’s a fantastic tale with a great cast of characters.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Close call between pizza and fried chicken. My wife was mortified to discover that I would often eat fried chicken in bed on evenings when she was out of town, so now I just do a better job of hiding the evidence. I hope she doesn’t read this.

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Probably my birthday, I enjoy feeling loved!

35 What is your favorite plant?

I could never eat too many raspberries, so I guess that’s my answer?

36 What is your favorite science fact?

It’s hard to pick just one, but I love a good bird fact. Some birds are capable of letting one side of their brain sleep while the other is awake, allowing them to fly for days on end without stopping!

37 What is your favorite season?

Summer

38 What is your favorite smell?

Toss-up between fresh bed linen or sticky toffee pudding.

39 What is your favorite sound?

When I’ve just finished a plate of mac & cheese and look up at my wife and she says “there’s more in the kitchen”.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I like to think I’m fun to be around and good at making friends.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Cornucopia.

42 What is your proudest moment?

Coming out of my PhD viva. I really enjoyed the viva process and it drove home what I had accomplished over the last 5 years.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Well this quiz (https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/what-tree-are-you) told me that I’m a red mangrove, meaning that I’m messy but quick with a joke – which is fair.

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

It’s close to my family and surrounded by nature. Only recently moved here, but I’m very happy with the decision.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I’ve never had coffee in my life.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Nadine G (@NadWGab)