Seeing Red: How plants influence coloration in birds (webinar)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event Type: 

Since the 1950’s, many non-native honeysuckle species (Lonicera spp.) have spread throughout Northeast America and eastern Canada.  Producing attractive berries, the seeds of honeysuckles are spread by birds and other wildlife giving them an advantage of early establishment and in some cases, allowing them to out–compete native plants.  This talk will describe how Rhodoxanthin, a xanthophyll pigment found in nonnative honeysuckle species, has been shown to produce deep reds and was pinned as the culprit of unusual plumage coloration found in Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles, Northern Flickers, and many other fruit loving birds.  Ms. Fontaine will discuss the importance of dietary carotenoids in avian biology, and show how the presence of alien pigments introduced to the landscapes of Northeast America and eastern Canada present an interesting potential problem for bird conservation.