Studies in Avian Biology

Published by: University of California Press

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Studies in Avian Biology

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Arctic Shorebirds in North America

A Decade of Monitoring

Jonathan Robert Bart

Each year shorebirds from North and South America migrate thousands of miles to spend the summer in the Arctic. There they feed in shoreline marshes and estuaries along some of the most productive and pristine coasts anywhere. With so much available food they are able to reproduce almost explosively; and as winter approaches, they retreat south along with their offspring, to return to the Arctic the following spring. This remarkable pattern of movement and activity has been the object of intensive study by an international team of ornithologists who have spent a decade counting, surveying, and observing these shorebirds. In this important synthetic work, they address multiple questions about these migratory bird populations. How many birds occupy Arctic ecosystems each summer? How long do visiting shorebirds linger before heading south? How fecund are these birds? Where exactly do they migrate and where exactly do they return? Are their populations growing or shrinking? The results of this study are crucial for better understanding how environmental policies will influence Arctic habitats as well as the far-ranging winter habitats used by migratory shorebirds.

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Emerging Avian Disease

Published for the Cooper Ornithological Society

Ellen Paul

In this volume, new human disease pandemics, arising from animals stimulated by ongoing environmental change, demonstrate the value of ornithological research into avian diseases. A group of 29 researchers addresses a diverse set of topics, including the evolutionary and ecological aspects of the host-vector systems, the effects of genetic variation, introduction success and vector ecology, evolution of resistance and virulence of pathogens, and the effects of changing geographic distributions. In addition to empirical studies under field conditions, the authors present predictive models to assess the movement and potential impact of these diseases. Other chapters delve into the potential impacts of pathogens and the key role of biosurveillance and documenting impacts of disease on bird populations.

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Greater Sage-Grouse

Ecology and Conservation of a Landscape Species and Its Habitats

Steve Knick

Admired for its elaborate breeding displays and treasured as a game bird, the Greater Sage-Grouse is a charismatic symbol of the broad open spaces in western North America. Unfortunately these birds have declined across much of their range—which stretches across 11 western states and reaches into Canada—mostly due to loss of critical sagebrush habitat. Today the Greater Sage-Grouse is at the center of a complex conservation challenge. This multifaceted volume, an important foundation for developing conservation strategies and actions, provides a comprehensive synthesis of scientific information on the biology and ecology of the Greater Sage-Grouse. Bringing together the experience of thirty-eight researchers, it describes the bird’s population trends, its sagebrush habitat, and potential limitations to conservation, including the effects of rangeland fire, climate change, invasive plants, disease, and land uses such as energy development, grazing, and agriculture.

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Urban Bird Ecology and Conservation

Christopher A. Lepczyk

Now that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, the study of birds in urban ecosystems has emerged at the forefront of ornithological research. An international team of leading researchers in urban bird ecology and conservation from across Europe and North America presents the state of this diverse field, addressing classic questions while proposing new directions for further study. Areas of particular focus include the processes underlying patterns of species shifts along urban-rural gradients, the demography of urban birds and the role of citizen science, and human-avian interaction in urban areas. This important reference fills a crucial need for scientists, planners, and managers of urban spaces and all those interested in the study and conservation of birds in the world’s expanding metropolises.

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Video Surveillance of Nesting Birds

Christine Ann Ribic

Declining bird populations, especially those that breed in North American grasslands, have stimulated extensive research on factors that affect nest failure and reduced reproductive success. Until now, this research has been hampered by the difficulties inherent in observing nest activities. Video Surveillance of Nesting Birds highlights the use of miniature video cameras and recording equipment yielding new important and some unanticipated insights into breeding bird biology, including previously undocumented observations of hatching, incubation, fledging, diurnal and nocturnal activity patterns, predator identification, predator-prey interactions, and cause-specific rates of nest loss. This seminal contribution to bird reproductive biology uses tools capable of generating astonishing results with the potential for fresh insights into bird conservation, management, and theory.

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