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IBIS - new issue highlights 
Volume 155  |  Issue 4  |  October 2013

October’s issue of IBIS contains 15 full papers and four Short Communications, plus the ninth set of recommendations for Western Palearctic birds from the BOU's Taxonomic Sub-committee.

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Featured paper
Sensory control of clutch size in the Common Swift Apus apus
Our featured paper this month is an investigation into the complex issue of how birds regulate their own clutch sizes. Using Common Swift as a model, Sacha Haywood has undertaken a series of elegant egg-removal experiments to show that clutch size is determined at almost precisely solar noon on the day the first egg is laid, but only if the bird is able to touch the egg - both the time of day and the tactile cues received by the bird from its first egg are therefore involved in determining clutch size in this species. In their accompanying Commentary article, Margaret Voss and Caren Kooper point out that Haywood's work sheds light on the interaction of photoperiod entrained circadian clocks with other external stimuli to create complex and variable endocrine responses that potentially optimise clutch size for the prevalent environmental conditions, making a significant contribution to ornithology.


Other papers in this issue include: 

  • An investigation into the effects of weather on the flight altitude of migrating birds, showing that migrants prefer flying at low altitudes and only seek out favourable tailwinds at higher altitudes when conditions at low altitudes are wholly unsupportive of migration  |  View abstract  
  • A study of the skeletal structure of ducks and geese, showing that major differences exist between different ecological groups, and that such differences partly explain differences between species in their reproductive output, with a clear message that studies of reproductive output need to take account of the ecological constraints on physiology  |  View abstract
  • An investigation of roost site selection by Little Owls, which found that juvenile Little Owls used more exposed roost sites than adults, and suffered higher mortality as a result  |   View abstract
  • An assessment of the optimal age of sown field margins for farmland birds, which concluded that conditions improved for birds up to 4-6 years after sowing, and thereafter declined, with clear implications for the management of agri-environmental initiatives  |  View abstract
Other items
  • Book reviews | View
  • Taxonomic recommendations of Western Palearctic birds: ninth report | View

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