Shanahan, D.F., Strohbach, M.W., Warren, P.S. & Fuller, R.A. 2014. The challenges of urban living. Pp. 3-20 in: D. Gil & H. Brumm (eds) Avian Urban Ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.Tweet
Urbanization embodies one of the most dramatic and irreversible human transformations of natural ecosystems. It typically results in the wholesale change of habitats through the burial of previously vegetated surface under impervious materials or the conversion of original vegetation or farmland to parklands or backyards. Superimposed upon this physical conversion of habitat is an intense occupation of the landscape by people. While all forms of anthropogenic habitat loss or degradation present challenges for birds, urbanization is exceptional because of the sheer intensity of the habitat transformation and the dense occupation of urban landscapes by people. Here we survey the challenges for birds living in cities.