Forest Bird Nesting Ecology

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We cooperated on a pioneering study of avian breeding ecology in Sierra de Bahoruco, finding and monitoring nests an elevational gradient from desert scrub near sea level, to dry broadleaf forest, in high elevation pine forest, and montane rain forest. Along the way, we found nests previously undescribed by science.

During 2002-2004, with colleague Steve Latta of the National Aviary, VCE embarked on a pioneering 3-year study of avian breeding ecology in Sierra de Bahoruco. 

Western Chat-tanager nest.  / Photograph by L. G. Woolaver

Western Chat-tanager nest. / Photograph by L. G. Woolaver

This research, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, investigated the little-known nesting biology of birds in four habitat types from sea level to nearly 1500 m elevation: desert scrub, dry broadleaf forest, pine forest, and montane broadleaf forest.  Our field crews of Dominican colleagues found over 1,000 nests and closely monitored their success.  Our most exciting discovery was of two nests previously undescribed to science: those of the Hispaniolan Highland-Tanager and Western Chat-Tanager.