Edited by DC Deeming & JS Reynolds | Oxford University Press | Hardback | Feb 2014 | 304 Pages | 8 Plates & B&W Illustrations | ISBN: 9780198718666

The Publisher’s View: Nests, Eggs, and Incubation brings together a global team of leading authorities to provide a comprehensive overview of the fascinating and diverse field of avian incubation. Starting with a new assessment of the evolution of avian reproductive biology in light of recent research, Nests, Eggs, and Incubation goes on to cover four broad areas: the nest, the egg, incubation, and the study of avian reproduction. New research on nest structures, egg traits, and life history is incorporated, whilst contemporary methodologies such as self-contained temperature probes and citizen science are also discussed. Applied chapters describe how biological knowledge can be applied to challenges such as conservation and climate change. Nests, Eggs, and Incubation concludes by suggesting priorities for future research.

Nests, Eggs, and Incubation builds upon the foundations laid down by Charles Deeming’s 2001 work Avian Incubation, much of which remains relevant today. Read in conjunction with this previous volume, it provides an up to date and thorough review of egg biology, nest function, and incubation behaviour, which will be an essential resource for students of avian biology as well as professional and field ornithologists.


Tim Birkhead: Foreword


1: S.J. Reynolds & D.C. Deeming: Incubating new ideas about avian reproduction

2: D.C. Deeming: The fossil record and evolution of avian egg nesting and incubation

3: S.D. Healy, K.V. Morgan & I.E. Bailey: Nest-construction behaviour

4: D.C. Deeming & M.C. Mainwaring: Functional properties of nests

5: M.C. Mainwaring, S.J. Reynolds & K. Weidinger: The influence of predation on the location and design of nests

6: M.C. Mainwaring: Nest construction and incubation in a changing climate

7: A. West, P. Cassey & C.M. Thomas: Microbiology of nests and eggs

8: I. López-Rull & C. Macías Garcia: Control of invertebrate occupants of nests

9: G.F. Birchard & D.C. Deeming: Egg allometry: influences of phylogeny and the altricial-precocial continuum

10: T.D. Williams & T.G.G. Groothuis: Egg quality, embryonic development and post-hatching phenotype: an integrated perspective

11: K. Brulez, T.W. Pike & S.J. Reynolds: Egg signaling: the use of visual, auditory and chemical stimuli

12: V. Marasco & K.A. Spencer: Improvements in our understanding of behaviour during incubation

13: A. Nord & J.B. Williams: The energetic costs of incubation

14: G.R. Hepp, S.E. DuRant & W.A. Hopkins: Influence of incubation temperature on offspring phenotype and fitness in birds

15: J.A. Smith, C.B. Cooper & S.J. Reynolds: Advances in techniques to study incubation

16: D.C. Deeming & N.S. Jarrett: Applications of incubation science to aviculture and conservation

17: C.B. Cooper, R.L. Bailey & D.I. Leech: The role of citizen science in studies of avian reproduction

18: D.C. Deeming & S.J. Reynolds: Perspectives on avian nests and eggs

The Author: Charles Deeming started working on aspects of bird incubation in the early 1980s and has had a varied career since. Postgraduate research examined the physiological basis of egg turning during incubation and postdoctoral research described the effects of incubation temperature on growth and sex determination in alligators. Aside from scientific publications Charles has edited key review texts on avian and reptilian development and incubation, and ostrich biology. Since 2003 Charles has been teaching biology at the University of Lincoln, where he has added how bird nests function to his list of research interests.

Jim Reynolds has worked on the reproductive biology of a variety of bird species over the last 25 years including common kingfishers in the UK, spruce grouse in boreal forests of Canada, Florida scrub-jays in the oak scrublands of the southern USA and most recently sooty terns on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. His research focuses on how human-induced changes in food availability, habitat structure, predation risk and ecological community structure influence the breeding behaviour, ecology, life history and ultimately the breeding performance of birds. Such research will become increasingly pertinent as we attempt to understand how bird populations respond to an ever-urbanising world.

Fatbirder View:The almost shocking fact is that the majority of knowledge we have of eggs and incubation has not been given up by ornithology but by commercial poultry farming. A great chunk of the rest has come from pet bird breeders. This volume sets out to set out what we know, add to it and, above all delineate the priorities for further study.Much, however, of what we know about nests has come from amateur naturalists and the scientific study of a number of vast collections of nests housed by the likes of the British Museum of Natural History. So this is a worthy volume and a core study for ornithologists. As a humble birder I did not find it universally accessible. Sometimes the science seems hard to penetrate and reminds me that I am no scientist. Thus I am able to recognize its worth, without, necessarily understanding all it has to say. Of course, in this age of impending extinctions and overwhelming pressure on the wild world we are racing against time to conserve the rarest species and to do that the science of breeding is essential to captive breeding programs and habitat restoration or preservation. We birders have a part to play and our observations and recordings are a vital part of the citizen science needed to back up the professionals, as one chapter points out. Many amongst you will understand it better than I and I have no doubt every ornithologist worth their salt will want this on their shelves.

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