Understanding role of feather moult in the winter lives of our migratory songbirds

Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Presenter: Shae Turner

Black and While Warbler: photo by Ryan Wagner

Each year, migratory songbirds travel thousands of kilometres from their breeding grounds in Canada to spend the winter in the tropics. This period of birds’ lives, in winter, is one of the least understood periods of their annual life cycle. In this talk I will introduce you to the winter lives of our migratory songbirds and the important links between their winter habitat, feather moult, and spring migration, using data collected in Jamaica in winter 2023. We applied bird banding and the Motus Wildlife Tracking System as tools to study these birds from January through April in southwestern Jamaica, then track their migration through the United States and Canada.


Shae Turner is a Master of Science student at Thompson Rivers University and a Registered Professional Biologist in the province of British Columbia. Her current research applies bird banding and tracking technology to answer questions about overwintering ecology, migration, and carry-over effects in migratory songbirds. Shae has worked for the past nine years on projects related to avian ecology in non-profit, academic, and environmental consulting capacities, with much of this work in coastal and northern boreal BC. Since moving to Kamloops for her masters degree, her favourite new neighbour is the Pygmy Nuthatch.

Shae Turner: photo by Ryan Wagner