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Birds--General/Expert Profile

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I can answer questions about bird identification, avian physiology, avian conservation, avian genetics, bird song and music, and injured/ill/orphaned bird rehabilitation. I am not trained as a veterinarian and therefore can NOT answer questions about companion/pet bird injuries or diseases.

Experience in the area

-Employed as Wildlife Biologist for U.S.G.S for 15 years. -Post-Graduate Researcher, Avian Genetics, University of California, Davis, 2000-03 -Teaching Assistant; Avian Science, University of California, Davis, 1999-2001 -Keeper, San Diego Zoo, Avian Propagation Center, San Diego, CA -Avian Biologist, Avifauna Northwest, Boring, OR -Biological Wildlife Technician, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service -Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor, Willamette Wildlife Rehabilitation, Eugene, OR


-Miles, AK, L Bowen, BE Ballachey, JL Bodkin, M Murray, JA Estes, RA Keister and JL Stott. 2012. Variations of transcript profiles between sea otters Enhydra lutris from Prince William Sound, Alaska, and clinically normal reference otters. Marine Ecology Progress Series 451: 201-212 -Ackerman, JT, CT Overton, ML Casazza, JY Takekawa, CA Eagles-Smith, RA Keister, and MP Herzog. 2012. Does mercury contamination reduce body condition of endangered California clapper rails? Environmental Pollution 162: 439-448. -Bowen, L, AK Miles, M Murray, H Haulena, J Tuttle, W Van Bonn, L Adams, JL Bodkin, BE Ballachey, MT Tinker, R Keister, JL Stott. 2011. Gene transcription in sea otters (Enhydra lutris): development of a diagnostic tool for sea otter and ecosystem health. Molecular Ecology Resources 12(1): 67-74 -Eagles-Smith, C, Ackerman, J, Adelsbach, T, Takekawa, J, Miles, A, and R Keister. 2008. Mercury Correlations Among Six Tissues for Four Waterbird Species Breeding in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. SETAC Journals Online 27 (10) -Baptista, L and R Keister. 2005. Why Bird Song is Sometimes Like Music. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 48 (3):426-443 -“Early Embryonic MHC Expression in the Chicken “; paper presented at U.C. Davis graduate seminar (2000) -“Why Bird Song is Sometimes Like Music “; lecture given as part of U.C. Davis Avian Sciences course (2000)


-M.S., University of California at Davis, Avian Sciences, 2002

Awards and Honors

-Avian Sciences Fellowship (2000-2001), U.C. Davis -Grant to examine the abundance of Swainson’s hawks

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Recent Answers from Robin Keister

2017-04-18 Home range of resident and migrant birds:

Hello.  You must mean cardinals?  Not living in cardinal country (I've lived on the West Coast all my life) I can't speak from personal experience, but I see that the Northern Cardinal does not migrate

2016-09-27 Dove:

It might take a while for the proper nutrition to work, and there are bird vitamins you can add to the food or water, some specifically made for feather growth.  Providing full spectrum or UV lighting

2016-08-12 Robbins abandonment:

I understand your concern, and yes, it's very hard to watch nature take it's course some times.  I have not heard of a parent willingly abandon it's nest if there's live chicks in it.  A disturbance nearby

2016-07-09 Mourning doves:

Make sure they cab get off the heating pad (you could cook them!) and it should be set on LOW.  Depending on their age, you could try offering some dove/pigeon seed (or cracked corn) and maybe finely chopped

2016-06-25 8day old white dove:

Wow, what an ordeal you've been through, and I agree, it's very hard to know when to step in or leave things alone.  First-time parents can do weird things, and when you see they're potentially ignoring


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