In person at Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St., Evanston
Chris Whelan, University of Illinois at Chicago: "Nests and Nesting Ecology"
The amazing diversity of bird species on Earth is matched by the diversity of nests that birds build, and the unique nesting ecology of each bird species. While some nests share certain characteristics (e.g., open cup, platform, pendulous, among many others), the nest of each species is unique. Many bird species are master builders -- to verify this, just try to construct a nest out of grass clippings and twigs yourselves. There are exceptions to this of course -- many species simply create a shallow scrape, and the familiar mourning dove builds nests so flimsy that they often do not last through the entire nest attempt. In this presentation, we will consider the diversity of nests, review what is known about bird nest-construction behavior, and highlight the importance of nesting ecology in the life history of birds. We will consider how human activity has affected nesting ecology, both for the good and for the bad. Chris Whelan, in the Biology Department, University of Illinois at Chicago, will share techniques for studying and quantifying bird nesting ecology, and some of the controversies surrounding some of these techniques. The overall goal is to develop a greater appreciation for this amazing and critical aspect of bird biology and natural history.