As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ornithologist studies bird lice for answers on pathogens and evolution

Jan 05, 2015 by Sandy Bauers, The Philadelphia Inquirer

When Jason Weckstein looks at a bird, he doesn't see just a creature with feathers that flies.

He sees the bird as a teeming community of tiny creatures, some of which live and feast on its feathers, or that roam more widely and engage in more general mayhem, including gorging on the bird's blood.

When he talks about these things, his eyes light up and he smiles with pleasure.

"When I'm in the field, when I'm out bird-watching, I think, 'Boy, I'd love to get the parasites off that host, '" he said.

Weckstein, 43, is an expert on chewing lice - about 4,000 of them are known to live on birds - and this year left the Field Museum in Chicago to become associate curator of ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

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