Articles

House finches add cigarette butts to their nests to avoid ectoparasites

House finches in Mexico City break down cigarette butts and use them to line their nests. This may be a response to tick infestation, as these blood sucking parasites are repelled by substances such as the nicotine contained in the discarded butts, but can we be certain?

Gut microbiota of migratory passerines during stopover

Studies from mammalian systems have highlighted an important role of the gut microbiota in regulating host digestion, metabolism, and immune function; however the makeup and impacts of gut microbiota in avian gastrointestinal tracts is poorly known.

Comparing geolocator and high-precision GPS data

Few recent technologies have been embraced by the ornithological community as rapidly as solar geolocation tracking devices. Although the first and rather large ‘geolocators’ became available more than two decades ago, with their recent miniaturization...

Directed flight and optimal airspeeds in gulls

Diagnosing in-flight adjustment to wind by birds is challenging, since they may follow landmarks, take detours, soar in thermals or become wind drifted. Gulls are noted opportunists and flight generalists...

Evaluation of two methods for peripheral body temperature measurement

Body temperature is a key physiological property of any animals, and its measurement is thus a valuable tool in ecological and physiological studies. In birds, variation in body temperaturer has been related to a range of parameters...

Millions of mirrors - Iridescent coloration in birds

Like the rainbow shimmer on a soap bubble, the blue color of this male tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) feather is iridescent. Light reaching the feather is reflected by its microstructure like a myriad of small mirrors, making it look very bright...

Nesting success of native and introduced forest birds on the island of Kaua‘i

When I signed up to move to Kaua‘i and began an M.Sc. project studying the nesting biology of two recently-listed endangered forest bird species, the ‘Akikiki and ‘Akeke‘e, I knew I was in for a rewarding challenge!

Revealing the migration and winter movements of Swedish Red-necked Phalaropes

Ever since I first visited Ammarnäs in Swedish Lapland in 2007, Red-necked Phalaropes captured my special interest. Well-known for their reversed sex roles, their pelagic lifestyle outside the breeding period has hampered the study of their non-breeding biology...

Common loons defend chicks according to both value and vulnerability

During the spring of 2012, Gabriella Jukkala was just about to graduate from Northland College. After extensive discussions, Gabby and I became interested in how adult loons might protect their chicks during their fragile first weeks of life...

From Norway to Mali - Tracking Temminck’s stints

For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by the variation in breeding systems, morphology, habitats and other general lifestyles of waders. When I first learnt about light-level geolocation as a technique for tracking the non-breeding movements...

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