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Guam's Birds Gone: Can Forest Survive?


Can forests that have lost all of their birds still function normally? This is an important question for the now bird-less forests on the island of Guam, an island in the western Pacific…

I started to think about the potential ecological impacts of bird loss in 2002, when two years out of college, I was hired by the U.S. Geological Survey to develop a “Rapid Response Team” that would identify and eradicate new populations of brown tree snakes on U.S.-associated Pacific Islands. Although I had heard the snake story in my college conservation biology course, I did not know where Guam was when I applied for the job. Yet, three weeks later, I was on a plane headed there.