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Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Book Description | Reviews

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Birds and Humans: A Historical Perspective Birds as Food H-3
Use of Skins and Feathers H-4
Birds in Literature, Culture, and Religion H-6
Art H-6
Religion H-9
Folklore H-10
Literature H-11
Music and Dance H-13
Music and Dance of Indigenous Cultures H-13
Music and Dance of Western Cultures H-18
The Evolution of North American Ornithology H-19
The Early Years: From Aristotle to the 17th Century H-19
The 18th Century H-23
The 19th Century H-25
The American Ornithologists' Union and the U.S. Biological Survey H-32
The First Audubon Movement H-33
The Second Audubon Movement H-34
The 20th Century and the Expanding Role of the Bird Watcher H-35
The Development of the Field Guide H-36
Academic Training in Ornithology H-37
Bird Conservation, Bird Watching and the Age of Technology H-39
Suggested Readings H-42
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Chapter 1
Introduction: The World of Birds Ornithological Terms 1-3
The Form of a Bird 1-3
Bill 1-6
Head and Neck 1-7
Trunk 1-9
Wings 1-9
Tail 1-12
Hind Limbs 1-12
Diversity in Bird Form 1-15
The Bill 1-16
The Wings 1-18
The Tail 1-19
The Feet 1-20
Feathering 1-23
Internal Anatomy 1-24
Diversity in Bird Movement 1-24
Movement on Land 1-24
Movement in Water 1-28
Naming and Classification of Birds 1-32
History 1-32
Methods Used to Classify Birds 1-40
Binomial Nomenclature and Classification System 1-45
The Species 1-53
The Formation of Species 1-55
Orders and Families of World Birds 1-61
Orders and Families of North American Birds 1-64
How Naming and Classification Can Help You 1-64
The Use of Common Names 1-64
Evolution of Birds and Avian Flight 1-66
Bird Distribution 1-66
Distribution of Land Birds 1-69
Palearctic Region 1-69
Nearctic Region 1-71
Neotropical Region 1-72
Afrotropical Region 1-81
Oriental Region 1-88
Australasian Region 1-91
Island Distribution 1-97
Distribution of Marine Birds 1-98
Northern Marine Region 1-99
Southern Marine Region 1-100
Tropical Marine Region 1-101
Plankton and Bird Distribution 1-101
The Importance of Biodiversity 1-106
Appendix A: Orders and Families of World Birds 1-107
Appendix B: Orders and Families of North American Birds 1-111
Appendix C: Geological Time Scale 1-113
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Which Way is Up? 1-4
Sidebar 2: The Evolution of an Idea: Darwin's Theory 1-34
Sidebar 3: Latin and Greek Roots of Biological Terms 1-48
CHAPTER 2: A Guide to Bird Watching How to Identify Birds 2-4
Shape 2-5
Postures and Flight Patterns 2-5
Behaviors 2-7
Size 2-7
Comparing Body Features 2-9
Field Marks 2-10
Head 2-10
Bill Shape and Color 2-11
Wings 2-12
Tail 2-12
Legs 2-13
Colors and Plumage Patterns 2-13
Songs 2-14
Habitat 2-18
Range and Abundance 2-19
Time of Year 2-19
Sorting Out Birds 2-23
Closing the Distance 2-23
Sitting Quietly 2-23
Pishing and Squeaking 2-26
Mobbing 2-26
Playback Songs 2-28
Bird Blinds 2-29
Viewing Birds 2-29
Using Binoculars 2-29
Pointing Out Birds to Others 2-32
Selecting Binoculars 2-34
Magnification Power 2-34
Light-gathering Capacity 2-35
Field of View 2-37
Resolution 2-37
Alignment 2-38
Binocular Designs 2-38
Mini Binoculars 2-39
Binoculars for Eyeglass Wearers 2-40
How to Shop for Binoculars 2-40
How to Clean Binoculars 2-41
Protecting Binoculars 2-41
Selecting a Spotting Scope and Tripod 2-42
How to Shop for a Spotting Scope 2-44
Recording Observations 2-44
Checklists 2-46
Journals 2-47
Reporting Rare Birds 2-54
Listing Birds 2-54
Counting Birds 2-55
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Conclusion 2-57
The Birder's Essential Resources 2-58
Field Guides 2-58
General References 2-59
Textbooks 2-60
Popular Bird Magazines 2-60
Scientific Journals 2-61
Leisure Reading 2-62
Audio Guides 2-63
Web Sites 2-63
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Attracting Birds to Your Yard 2-24
Sidebar 2: How to Calibrate Binoculars For Your Eyes 2-30
Sidebar 3: Sketching Birds in the Field 2-50
CHAPTER 3: Form and Function: The External Bird Feather Tracts 3-2
Feather Form and Function 3-3
Feather Structure 3-3
Types of Feathers 3-4
Contour Feathers 3-5
Down Feathers 3-16
Semiplumes 3-17
Filoplumes 3-17
Powder Downs 3-18
Care of Feathers 3-18
Preening 3-18
Oiling 3-20
Head-Scratching 3-20
Bathing 3-21
Sunning 3-22
Anting 3-22
Ectoparasites 3-23
Development of Feathers 3-26
Molts and Plumages 3-28
Annual Molt and Wear Cycles 3-29
Subadult and Definitive Plumages 3-30
Plumage Naming Systems 3-33
The Progression of a Molt 3-34
Nonfeathered Areas 3-39
Eyes 3-39
Bill 3-39
Legs and Feet 3-43
Other Unfeathered Areas 3-46
Colors 3-48
Pigments 3-50
Abnormalities and Variations in Pigment Colors 3-52
Structural Colors 3-54
Functions of Color and Color Patterns 3-60
Cryptic Coloration and Patterns 3-60
Blending In 3-61
Disruptive Coloration 3-62
Countershading 3-63
Behaviors that Aid Concealment 3-63
Conspicuous Markings and Predation 3-64
Reduction of Glare for Foraging 3-64
The Role of Color and Pattern in Social Behavior 3-65
Species Recognition 3-66
Age Recognition 3-66
Sex Recognition 3-67
Individual Recognition 3-67
Flock Attraction 3-68
Sexual Selection 3-68
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Feather Detective 3-6
Sidebar 2: Feather Facts 3-11
Sidebar 3: Iridescence 3-56
CHAPTER 4: What's Inside: Anatomy and Physiology The Skeletal System 4-3
Axial Skeleton 4-10
Skull 4-10
Hyoid Apparatus 4-13
Vertebral Column 4-14
Appendicular Skeleton 4-18
Pectoral Girdle 4-19
Bones of the Wing 4-21
Sternum 4-23
Pelvic Girdle 4-24
Bones of the Hind Limb 4-24
The Muscular System 4-26
Skeletal Muscle 4-26
Smooth Muscle 4-28
Cardiac Muscle 4-31
The Nervous System 4-31
The Neuron 4-32
Sensory and Motor Neurons 4-33
Central Nervous System 4-35
Brain 4-36
Spinal Cord 4-38
Peripheral Nervous System 4-40
Cranial Nerves 4-40
Spinal Nerves 4-42
Autonomic Nervous System 4-43
The Senses 4-45
Vision 4-45
The Structure of the Eye 4-46
How Birds See 4-50
The Ear and Hearing 4-54
Structure and Function of the Ear 4-56
Hearing Ability 4-61
Olfaction 4-62
Taste 4-65
Skin Senses 4-69
The Endocrine System 4-69
Pituitary Gland 4-72
Thyroid Glands 4-74
Parathyroid and Ultimobranchial Glands 4-74
Adrenal Glands 4-74
Gonads 4-75
Pancreas 4-75
The Circulatory System 4-76
The Heart 4-77
Heart Valves 4-78
Blood Supply to the Heart Tissue 4-79
Conducting System of the Heart 4-79
Location of the Heart 4-80
Blood Vessels 4-81
Capillaries 4-81
Arterial System 4-82
Venous System 4-84
Blood 4-86
Lymphatic System 4-88
The Respiratory System 4-89
Nostrils and Nasal Cavities 4-90
Pharynx 4-91
Larynx 4-91
Trachea 4-92
Syrinx 4-93
Lungs and Air Tubes 4-98
Air Sacs 4-100
Breathing and Gas Exchange 4-100
The Digestive System 4-103
Oral Cavity 4-103
Bill 4-103
Tongue 4-111
Salivary Glands and Saliva 4-111
Pharynx 4-112
Alimentary Canal 4-113
Esophagus 4-113
Stomach 4-118
Small Intestine 4-120
Colic Ceca 4-123
Large Intestine 4-123
Cloaca 4-123
Liver 4-124
The Urogenital System 4-124
Urinary System 4-125
Genital System 4-127
Male Genitals 4-127
Female Genitals 4-128
Copulation and Fertilization 4-133
Sex Determination 4-133
Handbook of Bird Biology Hormones and Secondary Sex Characters 4-137
Factors Bringing Birds into Breeding Condition 4-140
Metabolism 4-144
Body Temperature 4-146
Countercurrent Heat-Exchange Systems 4-148
Cooling 4-152
Torpor 4-153
Heart Size and Heart Rate 4-154
Respiratory Rate 4-156
Water and Salt Regulation 4-157
Life Span and Senescence 4-158
Major Anatomical Differences between Birds and Mammals 4-161
Skeleton 4-161
Muscles 4-161
Nervous System 4-161
Ear 4-162
Eye 4-162
Circulatory System 4-162
Respiratory System 4-162
Digestive System 4-163
Urogenital System 4-163
Suggested Readings 4-163
Sidebars Sidebar 1: The Amazing World of Avian ESP 4-66
Sidebar 2: Bird Song: From Oboe and Trombone to Orator and Soprano 4-94
CHAPTER 5: Birds on the Move: Flight and Migration The Flight Syndrome 5-2
Functions of the Flight Muscles 5-7
How Do Birds Fly? 5-8
Forces Acting on a Bird in Flight 5-9
Gravity 5-10
Lift 5-10
Drag 5-16
Thrust 5-16
Function of the Tail 5-21
Landing 5-21
Hovering 5-26
Complex Control of Flight 5-30
Wing Loading 5-31
Turbulence 5-33
Variations in Wing Shape and Flight Style 5-36
Elliptical Wings 5-37
High-speed Wings 5-38
Slotted High-lift Wings 5-39
High-Aspect-Ratio Wings 5-42
Some Flight Facts and Figures 5-45
Air Speed 5-45
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Wingbeat Frequency 5-45
Flocking and Flying in Formation 5-45
Loss of Flight 5-48
Migration 5-51
Patterns of Migration 5-52
The Origin and Evolution of Migration 5-57
Controlling and Synchronizing the Annual Cycle 5-61
The Physiology of Migration 5-63
Daily Timing of Migration 5-65
The Altitude of Migration 5-66
Flight Speed and the Progress of Migration 5-68
Weather and Migration 5-69
Migration Routes 5-73
Site Fidelity 5-75
Orientation and Navigation 5-79
Compass Mechanisms 5-84
Sun Compass 5-84
Star Compass 5-86
Magnetic Compass 5-89
Navigational Maps 5-92
Sunset Cues 5-92
Suggested Readings 5-99
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Flapping Flight 5-22
Sidebar 2: Showdown at Delaware Bay 5-76
Sidebar 3: Polarized Light 5-94
Evolution of Birds and Avian Flight Archaeopteryx and Other Urvogels 2
The Descent of Birds 7
Flight Origins 13
Ground-Up (Cursorial) Theory 14
Trees-Down (Arboreal) Theory 18
Early Bird Flight 19
The Early Fossil Record of Birds 20
Palaeognathous Birds 21
Bird Evolution's Big Bang 25
Appendix A: Bird Evolution Theories and Early Diapsid Reptiles 27
Appendix B: Hypothesized Relationships Among Ancient and Modern Bird Groups 29
Appendix C: Index to Fossil Organisms 31
Figure Credits for Appendix C 34
CHAPTER 6: Understanding Bird Behavior Questions About Behavior 6-2
The Proximate Basis of Bird Behavior 6-4
Ethology, Ornithology, and Instincts 6-7
Learned Behavior 6-8
A Comparison of Instincts and Learning 6-14
Ultimate Causes of Bird Behavior 6-15
Territoriality, Dominance Hierarchies, and Ritualized Aggression 6-22
The Evolution of Ritualized Displays 6-30
Courtship Displays 6-34
The Use of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory 6-42
Feeding Behavior: Why do Birds Generally Restrict their Diets, Ignoring Some Edible Foods in Favor of Others? 6-43
Antipredator Behavior: Why do Some Birds Mob Predators? 6-50
Nest Spacing: Why do Some Birds Nest in Large Colonies? 6-58
Reproductive Behavior: Why Are There Different Kinds of Avian Mating Systems? 6-68
Reproductive Behavior: Resource-defense and Female-defense Polygyny 6-73
Reproductive Behavior: Lek Polygyny 6-75
Reproductive Behavior: Polyandry 6-77
Mate Choice: Extrapair Copulations in Birds 6-79
Mate Choice: Why do Some Birds Display Elaborate Ornaments? 6-81
Mate Choice: Why Cooperate in Courtship Displays? 6-85
Parental Behavior: Why do Some Birds Ignore Lethal Aggression Among their Nestlings? 6-87
Parental Behavior: Why are there "Helpers at the Nest" that Care for Someone Else's Offspring? 6-88
How to Study Bird Behavior Yourself 6-91
Suggested Readings 6-98
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Bird Brains 6-16
Sidebar 2: Play 6-19
Sidebar 3: Defense Behavior 6-52
Sidebar 4: Living in Groups 6-60
Sidebar 5: Length of the Pair Bond 6-72
Sidebar 6: Bird Families as Models for Understanding Ourselves 6-92
CHAPTER 7: Vocal Behavior What is Sound? 7-3
Seeing Sounds: Sonagrams and Oscillograms 7-4
Use of Tape or CD with Chapter Text 7-6
Understanding Complex Songs 7-9
Vocal Repertoires 7-10
The Problem of Meaning 7-11
Song 7-14
The Structure and Function of Sounds 7-19
Vocal Development 7-23
Vocal Development in Songbirds 7-25
Vocal Development in Nonsongbirds 7-30
Songbird Diversity 7-34
Control of Song 7-37
Variation in Space and Time 7-41
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Species Differences 7-42
Individual Variation 7-42
Song Dialects 7-53
Geographic Variation in Suboscine Vocalizations 7-57
The Diversity of Geographic Patterns in Songbirds 7-58
Song Change Over Time 7-63
Dialects Over Broad Regions 7-64
The Functions of Song 7-66
Dawn Chorus 7-75
Duetting 7-78
Mimicry 7-81
Flight Songs 7-84
Song Repertoires 7-85
Suggested Readings 7-91
Appendix A: Descriptions of Tape/CD Tracks 7-93
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Winnows, Snaps, and Spring Thunder--Nonvocal Sounds 7-15
Sidebar 2: Listen Up!.7-44
Sidebar 3: Pushing the Limits: New Computer Techniques for Studying Bird Song 7-48
Sidebar 4: Do Birds Think? 7-67
Sidebar 5: "Call Notes" and Their Functions 7-72
Sidebar 6: Listening on Your Own 7-88
CHAPTER 8: Nests, Eggs, and Young: Breeding Biology of Birds Survival 8-3
The Timing of Breeding 8-10
Breeding Territories 8-13
Functions of Breeding Territories 8-14
Nests and Nest Building 8-15
Functions of Nests 8-18
Diversity of Nest Sites 8-20
Seasonal Changes in Nest Sites 8-22
Nest Site Selection 8-23
Diversity of Nests 8-24
The Evolution of Nest Construction 8-44
Nest Lining 8-47
Nest-building Behavior 8-50
Sex Roles in Nest Building 8-56
Duration of Nest Building 8-57
Nest Appropriation and Reuse 8-57
Eggs 8-59
Egg Structure 8-59
Egg Size 8-70
Egg Shape 8-72
Egg Surface Texture 8-74
Egg Color 8-75
Egg Laying 8-77
Clutch Size 8-78
Patterns in Clutch Size Variation 8-78
The Evolution of Clutch Size 8-79
Egg and Clutch Replacement 8-90
Number of Broods per Season 8-91
Incubation 8-93
Incubation Patch 8-94
Incubation Period 8-96
Start of Incubation 8-97
Role of the Sexes 8-99
Patterns of Attentiveness 8-99
Behavior During Incubation 8-101
Changes in Incubation Behavior 8-103
Feeding the Mate 8-103
Development of Young 8-104
Hatching 8-10_
Development at Hatching 8-106
Typical Altricial Young 8-107
Typical Precocial Young 8-117
Recognition Between Parents and Young 8-125
Caring for Young 8-130
Feeding the Young 8-131
Defending the Young 8-134
Nest Sanitation 8-136
Brood Parasites 8-139
Evolution and Adaptation Among Obligate Brood Parasites 8-143
Brood Parasite Ploys 8-143
Host Counterploys and Coevolution 8-146
Evolution and Adaptation in New World Cowbirds 8-148
Conclusion 8-152
Suggested Readings 8-152
Sidebars Sidebar 1: Neat Nesting Facts 8-16
Sidebar 2: Social Weavers 8-40
Sidebar 3: Oölogy: From Hobby to Science 8-80
Sidebar 4: Creches 8-126
CHAPTER 9: Individuals, Populations, and Communities: The Ecology of Birds Birds as Individuals 9-7
Habitat Selection: Choosing a Place to Live 9-8
Thermoregulation: Coping with Heat and Cold 9-13
Water: A Matter of Economy 9-18
Foraging Ecology: Meeting Energy and Nutritional Demands 9-23
How Much Food Does a Bird Need? 9-23
What Types of Food are Eaten? 9-25
Where and How to Forage 9-28
Do Birds Always Forage Optimally? 9-31
Coping with Environmental Fluctuations 9-31
Relationships with Other Individuals 9-38
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Types of Intraspecific Competition 9-39
Life History Strategies: Putting it All Together 9-43
Birds in Populations 9-48
Characteristics of Bird Populations 9-49
Geographic Distribution Patterns 9-49
Population Size 9-58
How Do We Determine Population Size? 9-60
What Affects Population Size? 9-62
What Regulates Population Size? 9-67
Extinction: The Death of the Last Individual in a Population 9-75
Structure of Bird Populations 9-80
Bird Communities 9-82
Characteristics of Bird Communities 9-82
Patterns of Species Richness 9-85
Effects of Latitude 9-85
Effects of Habitat Complexity and Productivity 9-92
Effects of Habitat Size 9-95
Habitat Patches as "Islands" 9-97
Patterns of Relative Abundance 9-101
Ecological Niches 9-102
Are Bird Communities Organized in Optimal Ways? 9-104
Birds as Components of Ecosystems 9-109
Ecological Distribution of Birds in the Major Terrestrial Ecosystems of North America 9-109
Tundra 9-114
Coniferous Forest 9-116
Deciduous Forest 9-117
Grassland 9-118
Southwestern Oak Woodland 9-120
Chaparral 9-120
Pinyon-Juniper Woodland 9-121
Sagebrush 9-121
Scrub Desert 9-122
Two Important Ecotones 9-122
The Role of Birds in the Food Chain 9-123
What if Birds Disappeared? 9-126
Sidebars Sidebar 1: The Winter Banquet 9-32
Sidebar 2: The House Finch Hot Zone 9-71
Sidebar 3: Ant Followers 9-88
Sidebar 4: From Blackberries to Beeches: Ecological Succession in Eastern Deciduous Forests 9-110
Sidebar 5: Sapsuckers, Swallows, Willows, Aspen, and Rot 9-128
CHAPTER 10: Bird Conservation Historical Context 10-4
Global Spread of Humans Begins the Extinction Era 10-5
Early Extinctions in North America and the Caribbean 10-6
Modern Extinctions on Mainland North America 10-9
Labrador Duck --the Mystery Extinction 10-10
Passenger Pigeon --Market Hunting at its Worst 10-11
Carolina Parakeet--Removal of a Menace 10-12
Eskimo Curlew--Three Strikes in the Wink of an Eye 10-12
Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Bachman's Warbler -- Demise of the Southeastern Forests 10-16
Brief History of Bird Conservation in the United States 10-18
Are North American Birds Disappearing? 10-25
The Forested Northeast 10-29
Grasslands 10-30
Southwestern Riparian Habitats 10-36
Shorebirds 10-37
Conservation Problems: The Ecology of Extinction 10-38
Birth Rates and Death Rates 10-39
Population Increases 10-40
Direct Exploitation 10-48
Introduced Predators 10-49
Chemical Toxins 10-51
Indirect Chemical Pollution 10-56
Introduced Disease 10-58
Habitat Loss 10-59
Habitat Specialization and the "Six Forms of Rarity" 10-61
1. Widely distributed, small local populations, broad habitat tolerance 10-62
2. Widely distributed, large local populations, narrowly specialized habitat requirements 10-63
3. Widely distributed, small local populations, narrowly specialized habitat requirements 10-64
4. Small geographic range, large local populations, broad habitat tolerance 10-65
5. Small geographic range, large local populations, narrowly specialized habitat requirements 10-65
6. Small geographic range, small local populations, narrowly specialized habitat requirements 10-66
Unique Problems on Islands 10-67
Habitat Fragmentation: Mainland Habitats as Islands 10-71
Conservation Genetics 10-74
Conservation Solutions: Tools and Prescriptions for Stabilizing Populations 10-76
DNA Fingerprinting and Genetic Augmentation 10-76
Population Viability Analysis and Metapopulations 10-77
Preserve Design 10-78
Habitat Management 10-81
Ecosystem Management 10-83
Adaptive Management 10-84
Translocation 10-89
Legal Protection 10-90
Endangered Species Act 10-91
Clean Water Act, Section 404 10-93
CITES 10-93
Bringing Birds Back from the Brink 10-94
Wood Duck --Regulated Hunting and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Adaptive Management 10-95
Whooping Crane --Protected Habitat and Captive Rearing 10-97
Peregrine Falcon--Pesticide Regulation and "Soft Release" Reintroduction 10-100
California Condor--Wild Capture, Captive-rearing, and Study of "Surrogates" 10-102
Maui Parrotbill and Akohekohe -- Protected Habitat and Feral Mammal Control 10-103
Why Protect Birds? 10-104
Direct Benefits 10-105
Food 10-105
Clothing 10-105
Other Utilitarian Uses 10-105
Recreational Hunting 10-105
Bird Watching 10-106
Indirect Benefits 10-106
Ecological and Evolutionary Roles 10-106
Environmental Services 10-107
Biological Indicators 10-108
Genetic Information 10-109
Scientific Study 10-109
Aesthetics and Spiritual Values 10-110
What Can Each of Us Do? 10-110
Backyard Conservation 10-110
Be a Citizen Scientist 10-112
Adopt a Place 10-112
Local Vigilance and Grassroots Activism 10-113
Environmental Education 10-114
Take a Child Birding 10-114
Contribute to Conservation Organizations 10-115
Never Give Up 10-116
SIDEBARS
Sidebar 1: A Summer Without Bobolinks 10-31
Sidebar 2: The Best Laid Plans: What Happens When Conservation Efforts Work Too Well? 10-44
Sidebar 3: Hawk Deaths Spur Action 10-54
Sidebar 4: Conservation Planning at Ecoregional Scales 10-86

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File created: 4/17/2014

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