Jan 05, 2015 by Sandy Bauers, The Philadelphia Inquirer
When Jason Weckstein looks at a bird, he doesn't see just a creature with feathers that flies.
He sees the bird as a teeming community of tiny creatures, some of which live and feast on its feathers, or that roam more widely and engage in more general mayhem, including gorging on the bird's blood.
When he talks about these things, his eyes light up and he smiles with pleasure.
"When I'm in the field, when I'm out bird-watching, I think, 'Boy, I'd love to get the parasites off that host, '" he said.
Weckstein, 43, is an expert on chewing lice - about 4,000 of them are known to live on birds - and this year left the Field Museum in Chicago to become associate curator of ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.