Avian ecologist Mike Krzywicki will answer three questions for us about feather molt at our March meeting. What is it? Why is it important? How can understanding it help you get more out of birding?
Birds use feathers for a variety of purposes, including insulation, flight, and breeding and social displays. Possessing quality feathers is an important part of a bird’s life. Birds achieve this through molt, or the regular, ordered growth and replacement of feathers. But how and when do birds molt? There are a variety of molting strategies that are influenced by life history traits such as habitat, foraging habits, a bird’s size, and migration distance. Knowledge of these underlying strategies and patterns allow ornithologists to determine the age of birds at banding stations worldwide. An understanding of molt can also enhance every day birding, elucidating complex plumage changes and, in many instances, allowing observers to determine the age and/or sex of birds around them.
Mike is the Project Coordinator for the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab’s “Bird’s Eye View” Education Program, which uses songbird banding stations and classroom visits to educate students and the general public about the importance of riparian areas to birds and other wildlife. He caught the bird bug after enrolling in a field ornithology course on a whim as a student at The Evergreen State College. Since 2012 he has worked as a field biologist throughout the American West, primarily in the San Francisco Bay area and western Montana. Bird work further afield has included time in the Northern Marianas Islands and multiple stints in northern Mexico.
Join us to learn the answers about molting at 7:00 PM Monday, March 12, 2018 in Rm 123 of the Gallagher Business Building.