The Avian Migrant: The Biology of Bird Migration

Overview

The purpose of migration, regardless of the distance involved, is to exploit two or more environments suitable for survival or reproduction over time, usually on a seasonal basis. Yet individual organisms can practice the phenomenon differently, and birds deploy unique patterns of movement over particular segments of time. Incorporating the latest research on bird migration, this concise, critical assessment offers contemporary readers a firm grasp of what defines an avian migrant, how the organism came to be, ...

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The Avian Migrant: The Biology of Bird Migration

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Overview

The purpose of migration, regardless of the distance involved, is to exploit two or more environments suitable for survival or reproduction over time, usually on a seasonal basis. Yet individual organisms can practice the phenomenon differently, and birds deploy unique patterns of movement over particular segments of time. Incorporating the latest research on bird migration, this concise, critical assessment offers contemporary readers a firm grasp of what defines an avian migrant, how the organism came to be, what is known about its behavior, and how we can resolve its enduring mysteries.

John H. Rappole's sophisticated survey of field data clarifies key ecological, biological, physiological, navigational, and evolutionary concerns. He begins with the very first migrants, who traded a home environment of greater stability for one of greater seasonality, and uses the structure of the annual cycle to examine the difference between migratory birds and their resident counterparts. He ultimately connects these differences to evolutionary milestones that have shaped a migrant lifestyle through natural selection. Rather than catalogue and describe various aspects of bird migration, Rappole considers how the avian migrant fits within a larger ecological frame, enabling a richer understanding of the phenomenon and its critical role in sustaining a hospitable and productive environment. Rappole concludes with a focus on population biology and conservation across time periods, considering the link between bird migration and the spread of disease among birds and humans, and the effects of global warming on migrant breeding ranges, reaction norms, and macroecology.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas Stotz

This book is an important contribution to ongoing debates regarding migration, including the evolution of migration, the conservation of migratory birds, and the effect of migration on the life-history strategies of birds.

Eugene S. Morton

Not surprisingly, John H. Rappole's new book is the most comprehensive treatment of avian migration on the bookshelf, a culmination of his lifetime work. Anyone with an interest in birds will find The Avian Migrant easy to comprehend, and the professional will find the ideas presented forcefully and the coverage of little-known topics especially stimulating. Rappole pulls no punches, and his views are spelled out with uncommon clarity.

Theunis Piersma

There are many ways toward an understanding of the evolution of seasonal migration in birds. The Avian Migrant represents John H. Rappole's personal trail of intellectual discovery. The book takes us through a year in the life of a typical songbird migrant, signposting and critically evaluating models of explanation along the way. It is an engaging, well-written, and deep dialogue about what makes migrant birds tick.

BTO News - British Trust for Ornithology

Over all, then, this is a very well written and produced book that can't fail to stimulate and educate anyone with an interest in bird migration who takes the time to read it.

Science - Franz Bairlein

readable, inspiring, and stimulating

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231146784
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 911,253
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Rappole is research scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. He has studied the ecology of migratory birds for four decades and has written more than 150 professional publications and 13 books for both popular and professional audiences, including The Ecology of Migrant Birds: A Neotropical Perspective and Wildlife of the Mid-Atlantic: A Complete Reference Manual.

Columbia University Press

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