Professor Rubega is an expert on monk parakeets; chimney swifts; hummingbirds; use of social media in science education. She researches the biomechanics of foraging and feeding, including the feeding by hummingbirds and other nectarivores.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Social Media in Science
Anatomy of Birds
Functional Ecology of Feeding in Birds
Biomechanics of Birds
University of California - Irvine: Ph.D., Biology 1993
Southern Connecticut State University: B.S., Biology 1983
- Center for Environmental Science and Engineering
- Center for Conservation and Biodiversity
Media Appearances (5)
Fake chimneys for birds that need vertical hollows to rest
But University of Connecticut professor Margaret Rubega, who is also the Connecticut state ornithologist, thinks the birds’ decline is likely rooted in South America.
“Chimney swifts are fundamentally a South American bird that visits North America for four months,” she said.
Rubega said a big problem is that scientists have only a few reports of small numbers of chimney swifts in the upper Amazon Basin, so they don’t really know where they winter, let alone what may be happening to them there.
The Hummingbird as Warrior: Evolution of a Fierce and Furious Beak
The New York Times online
At about the same time, Margaret A. Rubega, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut, published a paper in Nature on the way...
Migration Is For The Birds!
Margaret Rubega - Connecticut State Ornithologist and Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UConn.
Hummingbirds Are Where Intuition Goes to Die
The Atlantic online
When Margaret Rubega first read about how hummingbirds drink, she thought to herself: That can’t possibly be right.
Hummingbirds drink nectar using tongues that are so long that, when retracted, they coil up inside the birds’ heads, around their skulls and eyes. At its tip, the tongue divides in two and its outer edges curve inward, creating two tubes running side by side. The tubes don’t close up, so the birds can’t suck on them as if they were straws. Instead, scientists believed that the tubes are narrow enough to passively draw liquid into themselves...
Chimney Swifts Subject Of Study By DEEP
Hartford Courant online
"I was able to bring in the state ornithologist, Margaret Rubega, who is a professor at UConn, to give a talk," said Longmore. "Chimney swifts spend most of their time in the air. They can't perch like regular birds, but they have the ability to cling to the rough sides of chimneys. They make nests by breaking off the tips of twigs on branches and then gluing them together with their saliva..."
The Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) commonly uses utility poles as a substrate for building large, bulky nests. These nests often cause fires and electric power outages, creating public safety risks and increasing liability and maintenance costs for electric companies. Previous research has focused on lethal methods and chemical contraception to prevent nesting on utility poles and electrical substations.
A familiar component of the eastern North American avifauna, this small, agile, fast-flying aerial insectivore is easily identified by its characteristic “cigar on wings” profile. It breeds throughout much of southern Canada east of Saskatchewan, south through Texas and all states to the east, and more recently California.
We examined the relationship between bill morphology and bite performance in Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus), small passerines with raptorial bills. Shrikes feed on arthropods and vertebrates, and our aim was to understand how upper bill shape and jaw performance are integrated to meet the demands of their phenotypically diverse prey.
We describe a mophometric technique for distinguishing the sexes of loggerhead shrikes.