Wesley W. Weathers, Ph.D.

Wesley Weathers

Position Title
Professor Emeritus of Avian Biology
Fellow American Ornithologists’ Union



After completing his postdoctoral position at UCLA’s School of Medicine, Wes joined the Environmental Physiology faculty at Rutgers University. Five years later in 1975 he left Rutgers for a faculty appointment in UC Davis’s Department of Avian Sciences. He taught senior level and/or graduate level courses in environmental physiology, ecology, and avian biology. He was instrumental in the University establishing Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve and served as its faculty manager until 1998. For several years he was faculty manager of the UC Davis Raptor Center.

In 1993 the students of Davis’s Graduate Group in Ecology voted Wes “Most Valuable Professor”. He served as the group’s Vice-Chair for a while, was an Elected Member of the Cooper Ornithological Society’s Board of Directors, and an Elected Councilor of the American Ornithologists’ Union. In 1996 Wes was appointed an Associate Editor of The Auk.

He retired in 2009 and continues to reside in Vacaville.


  • B.S., Zoology, San Diego State College, CA, 1964.
  • M.S., Zoology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 1967.
  • Ph.D., Zoology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 1969.
  • Postdoctoral, Physiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 1969-70

Research Interests

My research focused on the thermal ecology and energetics of wild birds. My publications include research on four endangered species—Hawaiian Palila, Laysan Finch, California Spotted Owl, and Hawaiian Nene—but I am a physiological ecologist rather than a conservation biologist. I employed a variety of physiological methods to quantify the thermal environment and energy metabolism of free-living birds, both in the laboratory and field (Borneo, Australia, Antarctica, Panama, Costa Rica, and numerous U.S. sites). Over my career I published papers on 53 bird species, plus 12 reptile, 4 amphibian, and 2 mammalian species. My approach was fundamentally empirical, although I sometimes employed synthesis and analysis.

Lab Alumni


  • Dr. William A. Buttemer
  • Dr. Marcus Webster
  • Dr. Erick Greene
  • Dr. David J. Anderson
  • Dr. Karen L. Gerhart

Graduate Students

  • Dr. Donald R. Powers
  • Dr. Rodney B. Siegel
  • Dr. Peter J. Hodum
  • Dr. John P. Kelly

Selected Publications

Kelly, J.A., Rothenbach, C.A. and W.W. Weathers. 2018. Echoes of numerical dependence: responses of wintering waterbirds to Pacific herring spawns. Marine Ecology Progress Series 597:243-257.

Wang, J.M. and W.W. Weathers. 2009. Egg laying, egg temperature, attentiveness, and incubation in the western bluebird. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(3):512–520.

Hodum, P.J. and W.W. Weathers. 2003. Energetics of nestling growth and parental effort in Antarctic fulmarine petrels. Journal Experimental Biology 206:2125-2133.

Weathers, W.W., Davidson, C.L., Olson, C.R., Morton, M.L., Nur, N. and T.R. Famula. 2002. Altitudinal variation in parental energy expenditure by white-crowned sparrows. Journal of Experimental Biology 205:2915-2924.

Weathers, W.W., P.J. Hodum and J.A. Blakesley. 2001. Thermal ecology and ecological energetics of California Spotted Owls. Condor 103: 678-690.

Lasiewski, R.C., W.W. Weathers and M.H. Bernstein. 1967. Physiological responses of the giant hummingbird, Patagona gigas. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 23:797-813. [My first pub]

Weathers, W.W. 1983. Birds of Southern California’s Deep Canyon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 266 p., [16] pages of plates.