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Alaska Science Center

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Possible Causes

Although we do not yet know what is responsible for the beak deformities observed in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, there are several possible causes to consider.  In general, beak deformities may be influenced by contaminants, nutritional deficiencies, disease, parasites, blunt trauma, or genetic abnormalities.  We have investigated contaminants, disease, parasites, genetics and additional research is currently underway.

Black-capped Chickadee with a deformed beak on a branch - photo by Robert Gill - USGS
Black-capped Chickadee, photo by Robert Gill


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Page Last Modified: December 6, 2016