Birds are champions in showing elaborate, spectacular displays during courtship. Despite intense research on sexually selected traits, little is known about the function and mechanisms of these displays. Research in this area has grown substantially in the last years, and several labs have now developed methods and theoretical frames to address these questions, also thanks to major advances in technology that allow us to record and analyse behaviour in the field in 3D and at high speed. In this symposium, we will illustrate a few examples of how these studies have revealed unknown aspects and details of elaborate courtship. Given the number of ornithologists interested in bird displays, sexual selection, mating systems, and because of the highly spectacular behaviours that the speaker will present in their talks, we have no doubt that this symposium will attract enormous attention.
Leonida Fusani: “The quest for the integrated value of courtship displays”
Gail Patricelli: “New directions in the study of complex courtship displays of birds”
Elizabeth L. Bergen: “Unsupervised ethograms of elaborate avian displays”
Katharina Riebel: “The development of multimodal mating signals”
Masayo Soma: Evolutionary and ethological understanding of complex mutual courtship in estrildid finches
11. Insectivorous bird conservation in the context of global insect decline
Eliza Grames, Adam Smith
Numerous reports from around the world have documented declines in insect abundance and biomass. Parallel declines have been observed for insectivorous birds across all habitat types, with many reports implicating food availability as a cause of downward population trends. If insects are declining at estimated rates of 1-2% per year, the effects on insectivorous birds could be devastating, so better understanding insect decline will have important benefits to bird conservation. Similarly, the deep history of long-term studies and monitoring of bird populations can provide critical additional information to reduce uncertainty and better understand declines in insects. The objectives of this symposium are: i) to bring together ornithologists and entomologists to identify shared research priorities and conservation goals, ii) review what is currently known about insect declines and identify critical knowledge gaps, iii) to discuss what ornithologists can say about insect declines based on long-term monitoring of food availability and changes in insectivorous bird populations, iv) to explore how insect declines affect bird populations globally, and v) to identify conservation actions that can be taken to mitigate the effects of insect decline on birds. The format of the symposium will be designed to maximize the number and diversity of speakers, including specialists working in both disciplines and providing a wide range of insights. We aim to stimulate a rich and fruitful panel discussion, with the hope of fostering future cross-disciplinary collaborations.
12. “Chancing on a spectacle:” co-occurring animal migrations and interspecific interactions
Dr. Emily B. Cohen, Németh Zoltan, Armando Aispuro
Around the world, the migratory routes of different animal species often converge in space and time, a phenomenon we term ‘co‐migration.’ Animal migration studies often report two or more species with coinciding migrations, suggesting that co-migrations are common across taxonomic groups and geographies, although they are rarely studied. Co-migrating species often interact through competition, social information use, predation, and parasite transmission. These interactions may influence routes, phenology, condition, or survival and may carry-over to affect subsequent life history stages of individuals and populations. Additionally, interactions within and among species during migration are expected to manifest themselves in unique ways because of the added limitations of time and energy. We call for increased study of migrating animals as interacting communities, many of which are declining or shifting, with unexplored consequences for co-migrant species. Studying migratory animals as communities could enhance our ability to conserve migratory species through identification of flyways and hotspots to prioritize conservation efforts across species.
Armando Aispuro: “Competition and predation among songbird species at an isolated stopover site in the Sahara”
Andrea Flack: “From local collective behaviour to global migratory patterns in white storks”
Laura Gangoso: “Ecological interactions between Eleonora’s falcons and migratory songbirds driven by trade winds”
Theunis Piersma: “Do shorebirds invent and maintain their flyways in association?”
Cecilia Nilsson: “Habitat use in the air: height layer mapping of co-migrating aerial fauna”
13. Cranes: ambassadors and flagships for climate-change resiliency and biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes
Kerryn Morrison, Richard Beilfuss
Cranes, with their deep cultural connections, high visibility, extraordinary beauty, dramatic migrations, and striking behaviors, are among the most loved and revered birds on earth. Yet cranes are also among the most threatened families of birds in the world, with eleven of the 15 species on the IUCN Red Data List and many populations in peril. Over the next 20 years, emerging challenges will further jeopardize cranes and the places where they dance –the rapid development of East Asia (home to eight crane species), for example, and the impact of climate change on wetlands and water in Africa, Asia, and the USA. This symposium will explore the role of cranes as ambassadors and flagships for biodiversity conservation in a range of human-dominated landscapes—from agricultural landscapes that are a key driver behind crane distribution and their demographics, to the conservation of traditional rice systems in Southeast Asia, to Population-Health-Environment and Sustainable Livelihoods in the small agricultural wetlands of sub-Saharan Africa, to sustainable land and water conservation on the coast of Texas, to the co-management of thriving floodplains systems for people and wildlife in Zambia, Mongolia, and China. We will highlight the role that cranes have played in increasing awareness of global environmental challenges, in advocacy discussions to address conservation challenges, and as indicators of change across the landscapes they depend upon. The examples provided will showcase the opportunities available for birds to play a role in improving our knowledge in a changing world and to act as ambassadors and advocates for addressing global conservation issues.
14. Assessing the Health of Wild Raptors
John Davies, Laurie Goodrich
There has been a growing focus on studies involving raptors in the last few years, as the threats they are facing worldwide continue to grow. However, relatively little is known about the health status of wild raptors, the impact this has at population level and the potential role of raptors in the spread or containment of zoonotic diseases. Given the ongoing declines in many species, every opportunity should be taken to collect health-related data whenever raptors are captured. This symposium aims to bring together wildlife veterinarians who specialize on raptors, raptor rehabilitators, and raptor researchers. We aim to discuss the health assessment required and biological samples that should be collected, both undertaken using standardized methods, whenever anyone who has the opportunity to handle wild raptors (whether in the field or in clinics). These samples can then be sent to specialist facilities, where they can be analysed, and the results used to provide publicly-available baseline health parameters for wild raptors. This standardized approach may be divided into six classes: metabolic parameters, ecto- and endoparasites, haemoparasites, toxins (including heavy metals and pesticides) and diseases. The results from a largescale study like this will be crucial for raptor rehabilitators and wildlife veterinarians to quickly assess the health of most injured raptors they encounter. We anticipate an output from this symposium, in the form of a collaborative review paper, to which many of the symposium participants contribute.
15. Ethics and mitigations of biotelemetry and biologging
Steve Portugal, Samuel Temidayo Osinubi, Lucy Hawkes
The study of migration and other forms of animal movement has largely, if not wholly, resorted to the attachment of objects or devices that aid in the latter identification of or data acquisition about that individual’s movement. In a rapidly changing world, information about the life-history of species is essential in directing conservation action. Yet, there is the ethical question of the cost these objects and devices introduces to the individual animal. Does the end sufficiently justify the means, especially when these are the best means available? Does the common good of appropriate conservation measures for the species outweigh the individual cost of bearing the device? Can we trust the information gathered, at the risk of the device altering the behaviour of the individual? Do we, as researchers, take the time to consider when methods are most appropriate for the study, the species and the individual? In a world that is coalescing due to social information sharing, it is necessary for the understanding that underpins this essential science of movement ecology to be more widely discussed and shared. This symposium has been designed to provide a review of scholarly knowledge and a platform for an interactive discussion around the ethics and the future direction of biotelemetry. We encourage early-career researchers to submit abstracts to the session. We are keen to encourage scientists to apply who deploy a range of biologger types covering a range of fields; physiology, aerodynamics, behaviour, migration, ecology, species-protection etc.
16. Global landbird flyways: a review
Wieland Heim, Judit K. Szabo
New tracking technologies have revolutionized bird migration research and led to an ever-increasing number of publications on the ecological, behavioural and physiological aspects of migration, and its conservation implications. This is especially true for the huge number of (mostly small) landbirds (e.g. Passerines), which have only recently become available for tracking studies due to miniaturization of tracking devices. However, only few comparative studies on the world´s landbird flyway systems are available so far. While some flyways were intensively studied, others are still poorly understood. The aim of this symposium is to synthesize available information on the world´s major land bird flyways to 1) uncover global patterns of landbird migration, 2) highlight differences among flyway systems and 3) compile research and conservation priorities as a flight plan for the future.
Part 1: Global landbird flyways
Martins Briedis: “Broad‐scale patterns of the Afro‐Palaearctic landbird migration”
Judit Szabo: “Landbird migration from a South American perspective”
Ding Li Yong & Wieland Heim: “Migratory landbirds in the East Asian Flyway: distributions, threats, and conservation needs”
Part 2: Global patterns of landbird migration
Elham Nourani: “Wind and uplift shape the global energy seascape for landbird migration”
17. A global review of the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on birds
Miyako Warrington, Michael Schrimpf
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, local and national governments imposed stay-at-home orders and took additional measures to limit community spread of the virus. These lockdowns resulted in extraordinary changes in human behavior. Around the world, human mobility rapidly declined, leading to what is now known as the “Anthropause.” Researchers around the world documented impacts of the Anthropause on wildlife, including birds. However, regional variation in the scope and timing of COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in numerous, and sometimes contrasting, effects on different species. In this session, speakers will review what is known about how the Anthropause impacted birds in different countries and continents and at various spatial and temporal scales. The primary objectives are to compare and contrast avian responses to this unique and unprecedented event and discuss why birds in different regions showed apparently different responses to lockdowns. Speakers will explore how modern sociopolitical systems, historical contact with intensive development, and landscape-scale land management and conservation policies interacted and ultimately mediated impacts of lockdowns on bird communities.
Nicola Koper: “Effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on habitat use by North American birds”
Miyako Warrington: “Birds alter habitat use in response to COVID-19 lockdowns in the United Kingdom”
Raoul Manenti: “Lockdown effects on nesting behavior and breeding success of different avian species in Italy”
Ashwin Viswanathan: “Insight gained from a nationwide birding challenge during COVID-19 lockdowns in India”
Olivia Sanderfoot: “Detection and occupancy of backyard birds in the Pacific Northwest during COVID-19 Lockdowns”
18. Bird Hearing: Mechanisms and Ecological Adaptations
Georg M. Klump
Acoustic signals are the most important means of communication in birds and auditory perception is crucial for birds’ survival and reproduction. The symposium aims at giving an overview of our current knowledge of bird perception and the underlying mechanisms. A better knowledge of the physiological mechanisms of auditory perception and their functional consequences will provide bioacoustics researchers with a better understanding of the birds’ behavior as well as the impact of anthropogenic noise on birds. Thus, the topics of the review symposium will be of relevance for many ornithologists with an interest in bird communication.
A presentation by G.A. Manley on the evolution and structure of the bird cochlea will link anatomical features in the bird inner ear with auditory function. Catherine E. Carr will elucidate the mechanisms of sound localization in birds and compare these to the mechanisms in crocodilians and lizards. Christine Köppl focusses on hearing specialists in birds and the specific adaptations in their auditory system. Kazuo Okanoya relates studies of song perception and song production in the Bengalese finch exploring how some auditory capacities might be able to explain song complexity. Finally, using the European starling as a model Georg Klump exemplifies how an understanding of fundamental auditory perceptual mechanism of birds provides for an understanding of bird communication in complex acoustic environments.