An article about the nesting ecology of tropical birds, co-authored by Supervisor of Introductory Laboratories and Lecturer in Environmental Studies Jason Townsend, was recently published in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. Townsend’s co-authors include colleagues from the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.
“Nesting ecology and nesting success of resident and endemic tropical birds in the Dominican Republic” describes research on the biology and ecology of 31 species endemic to the island of Hispaniola. Townsend said that birds in this area of the world are understudied compared to those in temperate areas.
Townsend and his fellow researchers studied 643 nests in Sierra de Bahoruco, in the southwestern Dominican Republic near the border with Haiti, for a period of four months. They assessed the survival and overall success of nests at a range of elevations and habitats, and examined the role of vegetation and predators on nest success.
Among other things, the group found that the leading cause of nest failure was predation, most likely by non-native mammalian predators such as black and Norway rats, Indian mongoose, and feral cats.