Songbirds are often used as indicators of environmental health. From the canary in the coalmine to shifts in demographics and population patterns, birds tell us when things are not well. More often than not, these observable trends are a result of adaptive behaviour that has evolved over many generations. Understanding foundation concepts of songbird behaviour, including the rate at which behavioural changes occur and the limits of plasticity, is a requirement for anyone interested in sustaining healthy songbird populations in the Anthropocene. Yet, our world is changing rapidly. Can songbirds adapt quickly enough to keep up? Observed declines in many species worldwide suggest that the answer is no. To avoid extinction for many species, our conservation strategies must be broader and more intentional. For example, are there ways to actively manage habitats so that vital cue-response systems are kept intact? Anthropogenic factors are also altering how birds select mates and habitats, sometimes in ways that decrease fitness. Can biologists actively manipulate behaviour to mitigate these mismatches? The first goal of Songbird Behavior is to educate academics and managers alike about the foundational behaviours that drive songbird activity and demographic patterns. Topics such as migration, habitat selection, communication, etc., are explored by renowned songbird biologists to bring the reader up to speed on the latest advancements in the field. However, each author is also versed in the principles of conservation. The second goal of Songbird Behavior is to explore the current issues that songbirds face in an increasingly anthropic world – and to discuss the role of behaviour in the development of management solutions. By broadening our conservation toolkit, we can be more prepared to manage songbird populations and communities within the environmental challenges of the Anthropocene.
- Preface / Darren S. Proppe
- Introduction: Static organisms in a changing system? / Darren S. Proppe
- Habitat Selection in Human-Dominated Landscapes / Desiree L. Narango
- Migration in the Anthropocene / Kevin C. Fraser
- Conspecific and Heterospecific Interaction / Michael P. Ward, Valerie L. Buxton, Janice K. Enos, Jinelle H. Sperry
- Sexual selection and mating systems under anthropogenic disturbance / Ken A. Otter, Matthew W. Reudink, Jennifer R. Foote, Ann E. McKellar, Nancy J. Flood
- Sociality and Antipredator Behavior / Amanda K. Beckman, Faith O. Hardin, Allison M. Kohler, Michael L. Morrison
- Optimizing and Competing for Resources / Faith O. Hardin, Amanda K. Beckman, Alexis D. Earl, Jacquelyn K. Grace
- Human Impacts on Avian Communication / Sharon A. Gill, Erin E. Grabarczyk, Dominique A. Potvin
- Song Learning and Neurobiology in the Anthropocene / Broderick M. B. Parks, Andrew G. Horn, Scott A. MacDougall-Shackleton, Leslie S. Phillmore
- Personality and Behavioral Syndromes / Kimberley J. Mathot, Sue Anne Zollinger, Todd M. Freeberg
- Conclusion: The Role of Human Behavior in Songbird Conservation / Darren S. Proppe
Darren Proppe is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he teaches ecology and animal behaviour. He received a doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta, a master’s degree in Applied Ecology from Eastern Kentucky University, and a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. His interest in songbirds developed as a youth growing up in Texas, and in particular, as a technician hired to survey populations of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Professionally, Darren has presented and published research on the impacts of noise on songbird behaviour, communication, and distribution; the effects of urbanization on songbird behaviour; the use of conspecific attraction to manage songbird populations and communities; methodological challenges and advances in songbird survey techniques; and the impact of habitat change on nest predation. While his research has primarily focused on songbirds, he is broadly interested in the intersection of conservation and behaviour, especially in relation to anthropogenic change. He seeks to develop out-of-the-box solutions to today’s management challenges.