Effects of experience and a visual aid on ptilochronology

Laura M. Frasz, Jason D. Fischer, James R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ptilochronology, the study of feather growth bars, has been used to assess nutritional condition, yet the implementation of this technique can be challenging. This study investigated how a magnification aid and level of experience with the technique affected the variability and accuracy of ptilochronology measurements. The average width of growth bars was significantly narrower when made with a magnifying visor as opposed to the unaided eye, suggesting that future ptilochronology studies should incorporate magnification. Measurements were also influenced by the measurer's level of experience, suggesting that a learning curve must be taken into account when analyzing ptilochronology results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-322
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Experience level
  • House Sparrow
  • Magnification
  • Ptilochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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