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Publication Information

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Title: Analysis of droppings to describe diets of small birds

Author: Ralph, Carol Pearson; Nagata, Stephanie E.; Ralph, C. John;

Date: 1985

Source: J. Field Ornithol. 56(2): 165-174

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Stomach contents have been the major source of dietary information for small birds and other vertebrates. However, killing specimens to look at stomach contents is not an option in studies of endangered species and often is undesirable in other studies. Emetics, causing regurgitation of stomach contents, can be used successfully with small birds, but can stress and even kill them (Prys-Jones et al. 1974, Radke and Frydendall 1974). Collecting or photographing food brought to nestlings may be possible, but only for a limited season and necessarily few individuals. Droppings are produced by all birds all year and can be collected with little stress on the bird, often with little extra effort by the researcher. Large samples are thus possible. We describe here an efficient method for individually examining large numbers of droppings of small birds for a quantitative description of arthropods and fruit seeds in their diets.

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Ralph, Carol Pearson; Nagata, Stephanie E.; Ralph, C. John 1985. Analysis of droppings to describe diets of small birds. J. Field Ornithol. 56(2): 165-174


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