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David King

Research Wildlife Biologist
Northern Forest Science and Applications
201 Holdsworth NRC, Univ. of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9285
United States
Current Research

Current studies include the effects of habitat restoration on breeding prairie warblers, habitat-specific abundance and survival of wintering migrant songbirds in the Caribbean, Honduras and Belize, identifying area thresholds for breeding shrubland birds and native bees in gaps, migratory movements and stopover ecology of songbirds in the Gulf of Maine, forecasting the effects of climate change on spruce-fir birds, the effects of urbanization on forest birds, and developing market-based approaches for forest conservation in Latin America.

Past Research

I have worked on the effects of forest management on mature forest birds, the ecology of shrubland birds in silvicultural openings, powerline corridors, beaver meadows and pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, the winter ecology of the endangered golden-cheeked and golden-winged warblers, habitat selection and habitat-specific survival of mature forest birds during the postfledging period, the value of agroforestry habitats for the conservation of wintering migrant songbirds, and the effects of habitat management on native bees.

Research Interest

My interests are in applied conservation research, including the effects of forest management, climate change, urbanization, habitat restoration and agroforestry on Neotropical migrants during breeding, migration and stopover, with an emphasis on full life cycle conservation. This multidisciplinary approach combines ecology, ornithology and conservation biology with advanced sampling, statistical and modeling techniques to evaluate the relationship between habitat conditions and stressors with the abundance and fitness of birds and other organisms.

Why This Research Is Important
Americans care for wildlife and wild places, and birds are a conspicuous component of our wildlife resource that attracts millions of bird watching enthusiasts annually. Many bird species are declining and require habitat management for their numbers to persist. This is particularly true of disturbance dependent species, the focus of much of my research. These populations are vulnerable at all stages of the annual cycle, and thus, my research includes study of the habitats needed for breeding, migration and over wintering. My research provides the knowledge and tools required by managers to conserve these species and the habitats they require.
  • University of Massachusetts,Amherst, Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation/Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (joint degree), 1999
  • University of Massachusetts,Amherst, M.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, 1995
  • Humboldt State University,Arcata, B.S., Wildlife Management, 1989
Professional Organizations
  • American Ornithologists' Union,  Current
  • The Wildlife Society,  Current
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Bird conservation and ecosystem services on small diversified farms

Year: 2017
Small diversified farms in the northeast represent an increasing sector of the nation's agriculture. These farms encompass semi-natural habitats that can contribute to bird conservation. Forest Service scientists are gathering information on bird use of these sites for the benefit of birds and farme...

Shrubland Birds and Their Habitats

Year: 2010
Shrubland birds, such as prairie warblers and field sparrows require constant habitat management, and thus, reliable and specific knowledge to guide management efforts is urgently needed. NRS researchers David King and Mariko Yamasaki have been providing expert advice based on their research for sta...

Saving Tropical Forests for Migrant Birds

Year: 2013
Most northeastern and midwestern songbirds migrate to spend the winter in the tropics, where much of their habitat is threatened by clearing and conversion to agriculture. Funding for conserving tropical forests is scarce, so developing market-based incentives to conserve habitat is key. Forest Serv...

Enhancing Songbird Populations in Eastern Forests with Forest Management

Year: 2016
Many forest bird populations are declining. Can forestry actually enhance habitat quality for these species? Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Northern Research Station conduct a study to answer this question.