Using Heronry Birds to Monitor Urbanization Impacts: A Case Study of Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala Nesting in the Delhi Zoo, India
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Although urbanization is a frequently cited cause of biodiversity loss (Czech and Krausman 1997) our understanding about urban ecology is severely limited (Marzluff et al. 2001). Birds are popular bio-indicators of environmental change because they are ecologically versatile, their populations as well as select fitness parameters can be conveniently monitored, often with the voluntary involvement of local nature enthusiasts across large geographical scales, and their presence/absence in a particular area is consequential (Bibby et al. 1992; Urfi 2004). In India, while several studies have focused on changes in bird populations and distributions in natural habitats (Urfi et al. 2005), very few have actually attempted to study either the impacts of urbanization on birds or how different species have adjusted to environmental change. However, many Indian cities offer foraging and nesting habitat for birds, especially colonial waterbirds such as stork, ibis, spoonbill, heron, egret,...
KeywordsClutch Size Sexual Size Dimorphism Nest Habitat Endangered Wildlife Citizen Science Program
I thank the officials of the Delhi Zoo for their cooperation. This study was made possible by funds from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, University of Delhi’s scheme to “Strengthen R & D Doctoral Research Programme by providing funds to university faculty” and a Kushlan grant from the Waterbird Society, USA. I thank Mr. M. Mahendiran for assistance in preparation of the figure.
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