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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Birds’ feathers reveal their winter diet

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Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:28 AM PDT  see full PhysOrg article here

Influences outside the breeding season matter a lot for the population health of migratory birds, but it’s tough to track what happens once species scatter for the winter. A study now tries a new approach for determining what …bobolinks eat after they head south for the winter — analyzing the carbon compounds in their plumage, which are determined by the types of plants the birds consume during their winter molt….

Rosalind B. Renfrew, Jason M. Hill, Daniel H. Kim, Christopher Romanek, and Noah G.
Perlut. Winter diet of Bobolink, a long-distance migratory grassland bird, inferred from feather isotopes. The Condor, 119(3):439-448.

American Ornithological Society

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