News of the WeekEcology

Songbirds Stressed in Winter Grounds

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Science  04 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5395, pp. 1791-1794
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5395.1791b

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Many Neotropical songbirds are in decline, but many biologists have concentrated their conservation efforts on northern breeding grounds rather than southern wintering grounds. On page 1884, researchers use an isotopic marker in the bird's blood that is keyed to winter habitat type to show for the first time ever that the quality of a migratory songbird's tropical wintering grounds--namely, that of the American redstart--can affect its survival and breeding success when it arrives in the north. It now appears that conservation efforts will need to focus on both habitats.