Nomadic migrants are those that make unpredictable movements during parts of their annual cycle. Unlike obligate migrants that migrate to and from specific locations, the movements of nomadic migrants can be characterized as unpredictable in their timing, distance, and direction. Amongst bird watchers, nomadic migrants are known for spontaneously showing up en masse at bird feeders and then suddenly disappearing the next day.
Cardueline finches represent a number of North America's nomadic migrants and species like the pine siskin and red crossbill wander conifer forests looking for trees ripe with cones. As a postdoc at WSU, I studied captive populations of pine siskins and red crossbills to understand how environmental cues modulate behavior and physiological functions. This work adds to our understanding of environmental cue integration and the proximate mechanisms that integrate such cues.