- Reconciliation Ecology
Of about 330 known species of hummingbirds in the Americas, 68
are on the IUCN
Red List. At least two of these are extinct and the rest
are declining. Many are in trouble because
of the degradation and loss of their natural habitats throughout
is especially crucial when considering migrant hummingbirds, which
rely heavily on high quality stopover habitats. In this case, urban
areas may prove a valuable surrogate for degraded stopover habitats.
a sustainable strategy to conserve native diversity by enabling
the coexistence of humans and wildlife in human dominated areas.
in our surrounding contributes not only to conservation, but also
to our well being, quality of life and education.
Neotropical hummingbirds migrate through Arizona during spring
and fall. Other species are permanent residents of the area.
This project aims at monitoring and increasing hummingbird diversity
Arizona. Competition may alter the number of species in a habitat.
Following ecological theory and experiments, we expect the variation
availability in the form of hummingbird
plants and feeders to
affect the number of species in a given area. Here, we are
applying our knowledge of species interactions among hummingbirds
their diversity. This will be a model
system for the reconciliation of hummingbirds in cities. It will
serve to inform
to conservation efforts even beyond the confines of the city and
Science - Community
consist of nectar and insects. Using feeders, people can
easily manipulate artificial resources and study hummingbirds in
natural habitats. Aggressive interactions and
competition are common among hummingbirds. Usually body size
correlates with interspecific dominance. In some species,
this affects feeder selection. In this project, we
will study the effect of various food enrichment levels and
vegetation on abundance and behavior. Beyond
conservation, results of this study will also suggest how
hummingbird communities are actually organized.
About 11-15 hummingbird species breed in or migrate through
Arizona. Only few of these species are common
in Tucson (mostly
Anna's and Black-chinned hummingbirds and to a lesser extent
Costa's hummingbird). A few more species are occasionally seen.
Habitat and climatic conditions help determine hummingbird
and distribution. But species interactions and community
ecology also matter.
Hummingbirds sometimes change habitats or
because of competition from other species. They may or
may not be territorial depending on their food supply.
of yards with different plants and various numbers of feeders
will enable us to establish
the competitive relationships among the hummingbirds.
We shall collect data about feeding, perching,
singing, scout flight and /or insect feeding,
display flight and chasing. These data will let us
infer territoriality, social ranking and community organization
among the various species. In short, we will try
to understand how community ecology is affecting
hummingbird distribution in and
around Tucson, AZ.
Studying the ecology of a species in an urban setting has
several advantages. It enhances our understanding of biodiversity
in human inhabited landscapes, which is meaningful for pure science,
as well as conserving the species through reconciliation practices.
Scientifically supported action, and quality data collected
by citizen-scientists who care, are the core of this project.
thank all our volunteers for their efforts!