Brown-headed Cowbird molting.

Evolutionary Interactions of Feather Molt in Birds

Ryan Terrill, PhD

Tue, Jan 12, 2021 7:00 PM

Dr. Terrill studies the evolution of bird molt, an incredible adaptation that allows birds to drop and regrow worn feathers each year.

Photo of Ryan Terrill

Annual molt is essential for survival of birds and is the only event of the annual cycle found in all individual birds, yet the fundamental nature of its variation is unknown. Birds face a trade-off between immediate need for a feather and resources available for regrowth, which has led to the evolution of a diversity of patterns and sequences of feather replacement.

Dr. Terrill uses phylogenetic comparative analyses combined with molt, phenotype, ecology, and spatial data to investigate how and why birds have evolved such a diverse array of molt strategies.

Dr. Terrill is an expert on local birds and is on the California Bird Records Committee. Join us for a fascinating evening!

Here is a video of the talk: