Assistant professor collaborates on book about rare songbird

November 4, 2016 | News, Research, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Josephine Schreiber

A UT researcher recently collaborated on a book about a migratory songbird with authors from 30 universities, government agencies and non-government organizations in the United States and Canada.

Dr. Henry Streby, assistant professor in the Environmental Sciences Department, co-edited and contributed to the book titled Golden-Winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation and Habitat Management.

Dr. Henry Streby posed with his book, “Golden-Winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation and Habitat Management,” on Main Campus.

Dr. Henry Streby posed with the book, “Golden-Winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation and Habitat Management,” which he contributed to and helped edit.

The 250-page book about the rare bird was published by CRC Press and is part of a series called Studies in Avian Biology, which is a product of the Cooper Ornithological Society. It can be purchased online on the publisher’s website and through other online bookstores.

Streby co-edited the book with Dr. David E. Andersen of the U.S. Geological Survey and Dr. David A. Buehler of the University of Tennessee. While each contributed to several of the chapters, there were 40 authors in total. Streby’s lab and close collaborators contributed to four chapters.

Streby said he has always been interested in nature and wildlife, but it wasn’t until college when he realized how complicated and exciting avian ecology could be.

“Golden-winged warblers have been the subject of a lot of attention over the past several years because they have almost disappeared in part of their breeding range,” Streby said. “They are holding strong in the western Great Lakes region, but their declines in other areas have led to their consideration to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.”

The goal with this book was to compile several of the top studies on the species over the last decade into a useful, peer-reviewed scientific outlet.

“There is a ton of information available about golden-winged warblers from various universities, conservation groups and online platforms,” Streby said. “Unfortunately, much of that information is based on assumptions, opinions and very small studies that don’t tell us much about the species as a whole.”

Golden-winged warblers breed throughout the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian Mountains. The small birds fly thousands of miles to winter in Central and South America.

According to Streby, research is only now starting to discover migratory connectivity of this species.

“If we are going to fully understand why some populations are doing well and others are declining rapidly, we have to find out where each population goes for the rest of the year and then study what they are dealing with down in the tropics,” Streby said.

The book features some of the first information about golden-winged warblers breeding in the core of their range in the western Great Lakes Region. It also includes some of the first information about what these birds do on their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

“We have a great deal of knowledge about golden-winged warblers, but there is still a lot to learn, and we need to be constantly updating and re-evaluating conservation and management strategies as new studies provide new information,” Streby said.

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