Biology Professor Shares Research on Brood Parasitism

Professor Underwood in marsh

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Dr. Todd Underwood, professor of Biology at Kutztown University, is taking a sabbatical at Hawk Mountain’s Acopian Center for Conservation Learning. He has studied the interactions of brood parasites and their hosts birds for more than 20 years. Underwood is currently preparing several papers for scientific journals, along with a manuscript detailing his collaborative work on raptor morphology with Hawk Mountain’s Dr. Laurie Goodrich and Kutztown University alumnae Chelsea Johnson.

Underwood’s research focuses on several key questions, including why many hosts accept parasitism, what limits there are on brown-headed cowbird egg ejection, how costly ejection methods are and more recently, how geography affects egg ejection behavior.

For most of his research, Dr. Underwood studied at the University of Manitoba field station in Delta Marsh, located at the southern tip of Lake Manitoba. It is one of the largest freshwater marshes in North America, spanning over 60,000 acres. Between the marsh and the lake rests a 100-meter-wide forest with one of the highest breeding densities of songbirds in the world.

Read his latest report on the Hawk Mountain website.