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Greeney H.F.,Center for Creative Studies | Juina M.E.J.,Center for Creative Studies | Harris J.B.C.,Fundacion de Conservacion Jocotoco | Harris J.B.C.,University of Adelaide | And 6 more authors.
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club | Year: 2010

Despite many years of ornithological exploration in Ecuador, we are still far from understanding avian nesting seasonality at a countrywide level. Similarly, many birds have only one, or very few, published accounts of their breeding. Here we present data on the reproduction of 66 species from south-east Ecuador, gathered opportunistically between 2004 and 2008. © British Ornithologists' Club 2010.

Juina M.E.,Fundacion de Conservacion Jocotoco | Juina M.E.,Center for Creative Studies | Harris J.B.C.,Fundacion de Conservacion Jocotoco | Harris J.B.C.,University of Adelaide | And 2 more authors.
Ornitologia Neotropical | Year: 2010

The Esmeraldas Woodstar is a poorly known and endangered hummingbird endemic to coastal moist forests of western Ecuador. No detailed Information has been published on the species' breeding biology. We encountered 21 active Esmeraldas Woodstar nests in coastal Manabi and Santa Elena provinces during a study of the species' natural history from October 2007-May 2008. The nest is a tiny cup of balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) fibers and composite (Asteraceae) seeds held together with spider webs and camouflaged with lichens. Nests were placed an average of 7 m above the ground in thin vertical forks of small trees or shrubs, frequently near creeks or roads. The eggs are white and the clutch size is 2. Unlike most hummingbirds, male and female Esmeraldas Woodstar fledglings have distinguishable plumages. We collected information on all phases of the reproductive period with field observations and 37 h of video recording. Our data suggest that the female spends 79.4% of the day building the nest (5.8 h filmed, n = 2), 66.5% of the day incubating (1.6 h, n 1), 28.2% of the day brooding (9.7 h, n =1), and 6.8% of the day feeding the nestlings (19.9 h, n = 1). © The Neotropical Ornithological Society.

Harris J.B.C.,Fundacion de Conservacion Jocotoco | Harris J.B.C.,Princeton University | Haskell D.G.,Sewanee: The University of the South
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Although recreational birdwatchers may benefit conservation by generating interest in birds, they may also have negative effects. One such potentially negative impact is the widespread use of recorded vocalizations, or "playback," to attract birds of interest, including range-restricted and threatened species. Although playback has been widely used to test hypotheses about the evolution of behavior, no peer-reviewed study has examined the impacts of playback in a birdwatching context on avian behavior. We studied the effects of simulated birdwatchers' playback on the vocal behavior of Plain-tailed Wrens Thryothorus euophrys and Rufous Antpittas Grallaria rufula in Ecuador. Study species' vocal behavior was monitored for an hour after playing either a single bout of five minutes of song or a control treatment of background noise. We also studied the effects of daily five minute playback on five groups of wrens over 20 days. In single bout experiments, antpittas made more vocalizations of all types, except for trills, after playback compared to controls. Wrens sang more duets after playback, but did not produce more contact calls. In repeated playback experiments, wren responses were strong at first, but hardly detectable by day 12. During the study, one study group built a nest, apparently unperturbed, near a playback site. The playback-induced habituation and changes in vocal behavior we observed suggest that scientists should consider birdwatching activity when selecting research sites so that results are not biased by birdwatchers' playback. Increased vocalizations after playback could be interpreted as a negative effect of playback if birds expend energy, become stressed, or divert time from other activities. In contrast, the habituation we documented suggests that frequent, regular birdwatchers' playback may have minor effects on wren behavior. © 2013 Harris, Haskell.

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