How One Bird Became a Better Migrant

[Audubon's Warbler; credit:  Pterzian/commons.wikimedia]

[Audubon’s Warbler; credit: Pterzian/commons.wikimedia]

Some of us are born with wanderlust, but what exactly spurs a bird to journey thousands of miles each year? The answer is in part genetic, and a recent study of yellow-rumped warblers in the journal Evolution reveals how changes over generations could improve a bird’s abilities to become a master, long-distance flyer.

The research, conducted by zoologists and physiologists at the University of British Columbia, began with a genetic puzzle. There are four different groups of yellow-rumped warblers, each distinct in behavior and appearance: the Goldman’s, myrtle, Audubon’s, and black-fronted. Their genes, however, tell a different story.

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