Boom & Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Country
Winner of the 2009 Whitley Medal
In Boom and Bust, the authors draw on the natural history of Australia's charismatic birds to explore the relations between fauna, people and environment. They consider changing ideas about deserts and how these have helped to understand birds and their behavior in this driest of continents.
The book describes the responses of animals and plants to environmental variability and stress. It is also a cultural concept, capturing the patterns of change wrought by humans in Australia, where culture began shaping the landscape about 55,000 years ago as ecosystems responded to Aboriginal management. In 1788, the British settlement brought, almost simultaneously, both agricultural and industrial revolutions to a land previously managed by fire for hunting. How have birds responded to this second dramatic invasion?
Boom and Bust is also a tool for understanding global change. How can Australians in the 21st century better understand how to continue to live on this land as its conditions dynamically unfold in response to the major anthropogenic changes to the whole Earth system? This interdisciplinary collection is written in a straightforward and accessible style. Many of the writers are practicing field specialists, and have woven their personal field work into the stories they tell about the birds.
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Introduction boom and bust
The boom and bust desert world a birds eye view
Barcoo bantam It runs like hell
Rain and grass lessons in how to be a zebra finch
Grey teal survivors in a changing world
Australian pelican flexible responses to uncertainty
Night parrots fugitives of the inland
Genyornis last of the dromornithids
000 years ago Aboriginal Adelaide Andrews animals areas arid Australia arid zone Australian birds Australian desert Australian pelican avian banded stilt behaviour Biology black-tailed boom and bust brolga Canberra Central Australia chenopod climate change colony continent Coongie cooperative breeding Coorong Creek CSIRO Davies SJJF Dromaius dromornithids drought dune ecology ecosystem eggs environment environmental evolutionary extinction fauna flight flood fossil Frith Gawler Ranges Genyornis eggshell Gould grass grey teal groups habitat Heinsohn human Immelmann inland Australia kangaroo Lake Eyre Basin land living megafauna Melbourne migration Miller GH movement Museum National native-hens natural nesting night parrot nomadic northern numbers ornithologist oscines passerines patterns plants Pleistocene population Quaternary rain rainbird rainfall ratites region Rich PV River Roshier Science season seeds semi-arid Serventy South Australia South Wales species studies Sturt tion tralia variability Victoria waterbirds Western Australia wetlands white-winged choughs woodswallows Zann RA zebra finches