Research Opportunities

Refueling Performance of Songbirds at Migration Stopover Sites

Above: Blackpoll Warblers (left) and Swainson’s Thrushes (right) are two focal species sampled for physiological assessment of habitat quality at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory and the RIT Bird Observatory.

Small songbirds face many physiological challenges during short stopovers at sites used to rest and refuel between migratory flights. Current research under this project focuses on physiological assessment of fuel use and body condition of birds during migration stopovers in relation to diet and habitat quality at stopover sites. Ongoing projects involve measuring plasma indices of lipid and protein metabolism, and antioxidant status in birds as indicators of stopover site use at the local sites including the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory and the RIT Bird Observatory. A main focus of this project is to compare the physiology and oxidative stress of birds among stopover sites with different food types and quality, particularly native or invasive fruiting shrub resources.

Professor: Susan Smith Pagano

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