Stress in South African birds: evaluating methods for quantifying “stress hormones”
As researchers (and bird ringers), we often catch and restrain birds to facilitate sample collection. However, the activities involved in these practices (i.e. capture, handling and restraint) may be perceived as stressors by the birds. When faced with stressful stimuli, birds like other vertebrates respond my mounting a stress response involving behavioural and physiological alterations to ensure survival. My PhD looks at the different methods used to measure glucocorticoids (a class of steroid hormones involved in the vertebrate stress response) and how we can use these hormones to quantify avian stress responses to capture and short-term captivity.
This fascinating story of stress in birds can also help us birders to ensure that we do not create undue stress through our activities. It is worth joining the webinar to gain a better understanding of stress in these.