There and Back Again: Songbird Migration and the Geolocator Revolution
October 1, 2012
Academic Building A G008, 5:00 PM
This talk is cosponsored with the Department of Biological Sciences
Bird migration is an amazing natural phenomenon. How does a 15 gram songbird make its way from a temperate breeding site to a tropical wintering area thousands of kilometers away while finding the food needed to fuel the journey and dodging predators along the way? For centuries, naturalists have been asking such questions, but because most birds are too small to carry traditional tracking devices, our understanding of songbird migration has been severely limited. Then, a few years ago, researchers found a way to track migratory songbirds throughout their annual cycle. This seminar will explain this revolutionary new technology and how it has been used to reveal the amazing joureys of many familiar backyard denizens. We will also explore how this new technology can be combined with some of the same modern chemical and genetic investigatory tools used in forensic labs to unwravel some mysterious observations relating to the migration and feather molt strategies of songbirds.
Eli Bridge is a newly minted Assistant Professor in the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma. He is a trained ornithologist but he also builds electronic gadgets to help him in his quest to understand and conserve birds. Among his creations are the worlds smallest long-distance tracking device, and a Radio Frequency Identification system for bird research that is currently used at dozens of field sites as well as Disney’s Wild Kingdom. Eli is a review editor for The Condor, and his articles about bird migration can be found in the Journal of Experimental Biology and Bioscience.
Primary: Rohwer, S., L. K. Butler, And D. R. Froehlich. 2005. Ecology and demography of east-west differences in molt scheduling in Neotropical migrant passerines. Pages 87-105 in Birds of two worlds (R. Greenberg, and P. P. Marra, Eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.
Optional: Bridge, E. S., A. M. Fudicakar, J. F. Kelly, A. Contina, And S. Rohwer. 2011. Causes of bimodal stable isotope signatures in the feathers of a molt-migrant songbird. Canadian Journal of Zoology 89:951-959.
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