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Up Close: Berries and birds: Exotic plants altering the colour of birds
Many birds consume berries as a part of their diet, but what happens when they’re exposed to berries with new pigments from exotic plants? In the case of the Cedar Waxwing and other fruit-eaters, eating berries of the introduced Morrow’s (Lonicera morrowii) and Tatarian (L. tatarica) honeysuckles at the time of feather moult causes their bright yellow feathers to take a red colour. In this talk, Dr. Jocelyn Hudon will dive into his research into why this happens, how common it is, and what the consequences might be for the birds.
Jocelyn Hudon has worked as the Curator of Ornithology at the Royal Alberta Museum since 1992. Jocelyn acquired early a fascination for birds, particularly their gaudy colors. After obtaining a B.Sc. in Biology from Université Laval in Québec City, he went on to the University of Connecticut to study the evolution of carotenoid usage in birds, which earned him a Ph.D. He then spent 3 years at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as a postdoctoral fellow, investigating the pigmentation of the iris of birds, before joining the Royal Alberta Museum. Jocelyn is interested generally in the nature and evolution of colour ornamentation in birds and is using a variety of techniques to help understand the origins of new forms.