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Red-winged Blackbirds

Decision-making and Reproductive Success

Drawing on detailed data from their sixteen-year study of red-winged blackbirds in the marshes of Washington’s Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Beletsky and Orians analyze the information redwings use to make breeding-season decisions and the consequences these decisions have for lifetime reproductive success. Because male and female redwings make different, and often independent, decisions—males focus on territory acquisition and maintenance, while females must choose when and where to nest and how much energy to invest in reproduction—the authors have taken the novel approach of studying the sexes separately.

Using analyses of observational data combined with field experiments and game-theoretical models, the authors provide new insights into the complex patterns of reproductive decision-making and breeding behavior in redwings. This book will be of interest to all who study social animals, including behavioral ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and ornithologists.

316 pages | 4 halftones, 1 map, 33 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1997

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
1: Introduction
2: Marshes as Breeding Habitats, Study Site, General Methods, and Lifetime
Reproductive Success
3: When to Nest: Influences and Constraints on Starting Dates
4: Where to Nest: Influences and Constraints on Settling Decisions
5: How Much Effort to Invest in Breeding and When to Stop
6: How to Acquire a Territory: Theoretical Considerations
7: Territory Acquisition by Male Redwings: When, Where, and How
8: How to Continue as a Breeder: Territorial Dominance and Movements
9: On Being a Successful Red-Winged Blackbird
References
Index

Awards

The Wildlife Society: Wildlife Society Publications Award
Won

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