Journey of the Juncos:
Migration of a Familiar Backyard Bird
Science of migration featured in Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship, 
open to the public on October 7

For release: October 2, 2019

Ithaca, NY—This year's Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship at Cornell 
University delves into the science of a beloved backyard bird found throughout 
North America and Canada. The speaker, Dr. Ellen Ketterson from Indiana 
University-Bloomington, has studied the Dark-eyed Junco for decades, and will 
share insights on junco migration and evolution in her upcoming lecture.

The Mundinger lecture is being held on October 7 at 5:30 p.m. in room B25, 
Warren Hall, on the Cornell University campus. The lecture is free and open to 
the public.

Dr. Ellen Ketterson, Mundinger Lecturer. Courtesy University of Indiana 
"When animal populations are impacted by human-caused changes, they are forced 
to move to new places, modify how they behave, or face extinction," Ketterson 
says. "What interests me most is how birds process environmental cues such as 
day length and temperature so they know when to migrate, and when to breed. 
Will the mechanisms they use still operate in a changed environment?"

Ketterson says some populations of juncos have abandoned migration altogether. 
Determining whether this change is behavioral only or results from changes at 
the genetic level is important.

"If migratory behavior or timing is flexible, it becomes more likely that 
animals will be able to track changes and avoid extinction," Ketterson says. 
"There have been so many advances in migration research—it's an exciting time 
to be doing this kind of work."

Ketterson received her Ph.D. from Indiana University-Bloomington and joined the 
faculty in 1984. She is founding director of the Environmental Resilience 

This lectureship was established in honor of the late Paul Mundinger, who 
received his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.

This Mundinger lecture will be streamed live by 
 and at this Cornell Lab of Ornithology 


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