Assessing the impact of toxic chemicals: temporal and spatial variation in avian survival rates.
Avian survival varies on a number of temporal, spatial, and taxonomic scales. In order to determine the effect of human-induced environmental hazards on avian survival it is essential to have a complete understanding of the 'natural' variation in avian survival. This chapter examines four major sources of variation: interspecific variation in adult survival, geographic variation in adult survival, age-dependent survival, and seasonal patterns of survival. The concentration is on examining these patterns using data collected from long-term banding studies of common British bird species. We conclude by discussing how these data might be used to discern changes in avian survival due to either a buildup of toxic pollutants or long-term changes in climate.