McLaughlin, Rachelle and Menon, Shaily, "A Landscape Perspective on Bird Beak Deformity: An Epizootic of Unknown Etiology" (2011). Student Summer Scholars Manuscripts. 75.
Although birds with beak deformities have been documented throughout the literature, the recent spike in occurrences in certain regions has caused concern in the scientific community. A major concern relates to the role of contaminants and environmental degradation in causing or exacerbating this epizootic. This study used spatial and statistical analyses to examine the problem from a landscape perspective. The objectives of this study were to 1) locate and compile a database of known bird beak occurrences, 2) conduct a preliminary assessment of the environmental correlates of this epizootic in order to identify patterns, and 3) make recommendations that could guide future research and data collection. Logistic regression models were generated using known occurrences of bird beak deformity as well as randomly generated points compared with spatial data on relevant environmental variables. Generalized linear models predicted high probability (p(deformity)=0.88) of deformity occurring when all environmental variables were present. With more collaboration among researchers and data sharing, this method could provide insight into the currently unknown etiology of bird beak deformity.