Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Present "Birds and Change" Series

Three-part speaker series explores new ideas and science presented by ornithology and evolutionary biology experts


DENVER – The Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies announce the 2016 speaker series “Birds of Change: Adaptation, Survival and Our Changing World.” All presentations will be held at the Museum.


Bird-life Elevated
Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Phipps Theater
Christopher C. Witt, associate professor in the Department of Biology and curator of birds at the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico, and his colleagues are studying how the genes of birds are adapted to the elevations at which they live. Witt will showcase fascinating discoveries involving hummingbirds and other species that have significant implications for the persistence of montane birds under climate warming. His work will be featured in an upcoming episode about hummingbirds on ”Nature” on PBS, airing Oct. 12, and available for limited online streaming after that date at

Avian Biodiversity Today
Nov. 15, 5:30 or 7:30 p.m., Gates Planetarium
Travel throughout the Americas and explore how environmental changes affect avian biodiversity. Garth Spellman, curator of ornithology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, takes you to Central America to see how global cooling during the Pleistocene allowed house wrens to become the species with the largest range in all of the Americas, from southern Chile to the Canadian subarctic. Soar above the Rocky Mountain and western North America to examine how these same ice ages enabled new species to spread across this dynamic landscape, and to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where Virginia’s warbler has recently expanded its range. Conclude with a discussion of how current global warming is affecting birds.

How Mother Bluebirds Shape Ecological Communities
Nov. 29, 7 p.m., Ricketson Auditorium
Renée Duckworth, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, made the incredible discovery that bluebird mothers transmit information to their offspring by altering hormones in their eggs, producing a feedback loop between the mother’s experience, offspring behavior and community change. Duckworth studies how competition for nest cavities among bluebirds in fire-affected landscapes is leading to subtle but measurable changes. Join her to explore these findings and others that are shaping
our understanding of how avian communities change over time.


For registration details, visit

About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. Our mission is to be a catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Museum envisions an empowered community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world. As such, a variety of engaging exhibits, discussions, and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum, visit or call 303-370-6000. Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. Connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conserves birds and their habitats through an integrated approach of science, education and land stewardship. Our work radiates from the Rockies to the Great Plains, Mexico and beyond. Our mission is advanced through sound science, achieved through empowering people, realized through stewardship and sustained through partnerships. Together, we are improving native bird populations, the land and the lives of people.


Maura O’Neal, 303.370.6407, [email protected]


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