Grand Teton to Host Presentation on Red Crossbill Research by Dr.Jamie Cornelius

Red crossbills received their descriptive name
because of their color and the configuration of their beaks.

March 12, 2010
Grand Teton National Park, in collaboration with The Murie Center, will host a special presentation by Dr. Jamie Cornelius on the behavior of red crossbills on Thursday March 18, 2010 at 1 p.m. in the Director’s Room of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose, Wyoming. Cornelius will discuss her research on red crossbills and describe how they face an increasingly unpredictable food supply due to habitat disturbance and a changing climate. This presentation is a free and open to the public.

Cornelius’ talk is titled "Tracking a Nomadic Songbird in Grand Teton National Park: Behavior and Physiology of the Red Crossbill." Red crossbills are irregular residents of the Jackson Hole valley and Grand Teton National Park. However, their presence in Jackson Hole—as well as their breeding activity—is dependent on the annual crop of confer cones. Cornelius’ research is designed to define the behavior and physiology of red crossbills in the winter versus the summer, and determine the differences in years with variable food availability. Her study of red crossbills uses cutting-edge technology and addresses contemporary conservation issues. Red crossbills are tracked using innovative radio-transmitter technology that measures the heart rate of free-living birds, and allows for determining the energy it takes to survive and reproduce under different environmental conditions. Cornelius’ work will further the understanding of how a species adapts to habitat changes and will help in predicting how other species might cope with increasingly unpredictable food supplies in the face of habitat disturbance and changing climate.

Dr. Cornelius is currently serving as a biologist in residence at The Murie Center in Moose. She is a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany. Her project is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the University of California at Davis.