The two volumes of John Wiens' Ecology of Bird Communities are already recognised as having applications and importance beyond the study of birds to the wider study of ecology in general. The books contain a detailed synthesis of our current understanding of the patterns of organisation of bird communities and of the factors that may determine them, drawing from studies from all over the world. The author, however, does more than simply review recent findings in bird community ecology. By emphasizing how proper logic and methods have or have not been followed and how different viewpoints have developed historically and have led to controversy, he extends the scope of these books far beyond the study of birds. Volume 1: Foundations and Patterns explores why avian community ecologists ask the questions they do and what philosophical and methodological approaches they have used to answer such questions. Most of the book is devoted to a critical evaluation of what is known about the nature and organisation of bird communities.
Part I. The Foundation of Avian Community Ecology:
1. The development of avian community ecology
2. Determining pattern and process: the logical structure of community ecology
3. The importance of methodology
Part II. The Patterns of Avian Communities:
4. The assembly of communities
5. Numbers of species and their abundances
6. Niche theory and guilds
7. Ecomorphological patterns of communities
8. Distributional patterns of species
9. Habitat distributions of species
10. Resources and their use
11. Density compensation and niche shifts
12. Convergence of species and communities
13. Bioenergetic approaches to communities
14. A re-examination of the recent history of avian community ecology
"[...] a critical and careful review of the evidence for the main ideas and a fair analysis of the more contentious issues."
" [...] will be the singly most-cited reference in the ecological and ornithological literature through the end of the century."
– Wildlife Review
"These are lively and multifaceted volumes. Their quality and breadth of information guarantees that they will be a standard source and guide to avian ecologists in the years ahead."