Current Ornithology by Charles R. Brown, Mary Bomberger Brown (auth.), Val Nolan

By Charles R. Brown, Mary Bomberger Brown (auth.), Val Nolan Jr., Charles F. Thompson (eds.)

Current Ornithology publishes authoritative, up to date, scholarly reports of themes chosen from the total variety of present study in avian biology. themes conceal the spectrum from the molecular point of association to inhabitants biology and neighborhood ecology. The sequence seeks specially to study 1) fields within which plentiful fresh literature will take advantage of synthesis and association, 2) newly rising fields which are gaining attractiveness because the results of contemporary discoveries or shifts in standpoint, and three) fields during which scholars of vertebrates could benefit from comparisons of birds with different sessions. All chapters are invited, and authors are selected for his or her management within the topics below review.

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Thus, colo- AVIAN COLONIALITY 25 niality can potentially lead to avoidance of predation even in the absence of better predator detection or deterrence. Dilution of risk can occur in several ways. Individuals can form a selfish herd (Hamilton, 1971), jockeying for sites so as to position other birds' nests between themselves and the potential approach of a predator and thus maximizing the likelihood that the predator will encounter other nests before reaching theirs (Tenaza, 1971; Vine, 1971). In addition to a selfish herd or even in its absence, individuals can synchronize their reproduction, which may satiate predators during a short time period and reduce the statistical likelihood that a given individual or its nest will be preyed upon.

Hoogland (1981, 1979) and Kildaw (1995) measured individual alertness of prairie dogs in colonies, but to our knowledge not a single study on birds has measured vigilance (scanning rates) of individuals AVIAN COLONIALITY 23 at a breeding colony. Two studies, both on Cliff Swallows, inferred vigilance based on the distance from the colony at which model predators were detected during experimental presentations. In one case using avian predator models, no effect of colony size on the distance of detection was found (Wilkinson and English-Loeb, 1982); in the other case using snake predator models, detection distance increased with colony size (Brown and Brown, 1987).

Foraging-related advantages can be expected whenever colonial birds exploit ephemeral and unpredictable food sources, which seems to be the case for most species for which we have data. By far the most widely cited foraging advantage of coloniality is that birds nesting in groups might use each other to increase their rate of food-finding by relying on information from conspecifics that is available at the colony site. This idea can be traced back to Ward's (1965) study of highly gregarious Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) in which he observed individuals following others from a communal roost.

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