Alice Boyle holding a violin at Kaw Creek. Photo provided by Alice Boyle
Alice Boyle holding a violin at Kaw Creek. Photo provided by Alice Boyle

Alice is an ecologist studying (mainly) birds in wet tropical mountain forests and tallgrass prairies of the central USA. Canadian, part-time musician, non-traditional background, newly-tenured Associate prof, on my first sabbatical!

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes! A cute but grumpy old indoor cat

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

Been there, done that (I was a professional musician before becoming a biologist)… but if I had to chose a new one, I’d open a food cart.

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

I have never thought of switching science fields!

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

hmmm ANYWHERE? Maybe the Okavango Delta in Botswana

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

Eagle Eyes… to see like a bird

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

This tune/video for insight into my split life!

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

EVERYTHING! hike, bird, play music, make tie-dye, sleep, catch up with friends and family. Obviously not possible.

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

playing music, wilderness adventure, my dear friends and family

15 What beverage gives you life?

coffee (of course)

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

Probably all of them–I used to read voraciously

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

A musician

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I find nature and birds especially to be endlessly fascinating… WHY do they do that?

19 What got you excited in science?

When I figured out that it wasn’t about memorization and it was all about detective work.

20 What excites you about science now?

The discoveries still, but also the satisfaction of seeing and helping more junior scientists.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Fancy cocktails

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I tend not to keep my talents a secret!

23 What is your favorite game?

The Tune Game (self-invented road trip past time, but honestly, not that into games)

24 What is the last book you read?

The Sun is a Compass by Caroline van Hemert… inspiring story of wilderness adventure and also about rediscovering love of science after burn-out

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

Do what you love doing with passion and commitment and it will all work out.

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

ummm….. ?

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

What my mom always used to say: “DO be sensible, my dear!” (see previous question… being sensible hasn’t always been my strong point)

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Play fiddle with my musician friends, preferably for people to dance to

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Good Omens (loved it!)

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

Dead birds, I guess. Not so weird for a biologist, probably. I also transported a centrifuge in my carry-on once.

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Can’t chose

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

homemade Mac’n cheese

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

the last day of the semester!

35 What is your favorite plant?

Oh no! I have to pick just one? Boojum trees are definitely on the short list!

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Right now? That one of the birds I study makes sounds while hurtling through the air by making the “spock” sign with its primary feathers!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

rain on creosote bushes

39 What is your favorite sound?

the dawn chorus in spring (or tropical equivalent) in a place far, far away from roads

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I guess that I still know how to have fun and I do fun things a lot!

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

ahorita (Spanish, common in Costa Rica… variation on now, but really meaning soon but delightfully vague as to how soon)

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting my PhD for sure. Just getting into the program was an unbelievable long-shot, but then I managed to pull it off!

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Hura crepitans (surprise! exploding seed pods!)

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

the astounding beauty of the tallgrass prairies in Kansas’ Flint Hills

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

The day after my tenure talk I dyed my hair into a rainbow!

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

Carlos de la Rosa (