Bird, Doug W. - Senior Research Scientist

Ph.D. UC Davis, 1996

I am an ecological anthropologist with interests in how social and ecological factors influence natural resource use, and questions at the intersection of changes in livelihoods and landscapes. My research explores the dynamics of human subsistence practices, their role in ecosystem function, and their archaeological signatures in Australia and Western North America. I work closely with Indigenous communities, ecologists, and archaeologists on interdisciplinary topics especially concerned with the socio-ecological organization and resilience of foraging economies, fire ecology, and environmental change. More details about my research and projects can be found at and at

Selected Publications: 

Bird, D.W., B.F. Codding, R. Bliege Bird, D.W. Zeanah, C.J. Taylor (2013). Megafauna in a continent of small game: archaeological implications of Martu camel hunting in Australia's Western Desert. Quaternary International 297:155-166.

McCauley, D.J., E. Power, H.S. Young, A. McInturff, R.B. Dunbar, D.W. Bird, W. Durham, F. Micheli (2013). Conservation at the edge of the world. Biological Conservation 165:139-145.

Jones, J.H., R. Bliege Bird, D.W. Bird (2013). To kill a kangaroo: understanding the decision to pursue high-risk/high-gain resources. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280:20131210.

Blue, E., D.W. Bird, J. Christensen, B.F. Codding, R. White (2013). Comparative Wests: an introduction. Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities 5:

Bliege Bird, R., N. Taylor, B.F. Codding, D.W. Bird (2013). Niche construction and Dreaming logic: Aboriginal patch mosaic burning and varanid lizards (Varanus gouldii) in Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, in press.

Codding, B.F. and D.W. Bird (2013). Finding fire: a global perspective on traditional burning in California. California Archaeology, in press.

Codding, B.F., J.F. O’Connell, D.W. Bird (2013). Shellfishing and the colonization of Sahul: a multivariate model evaluating the dynamic effects of prey utility, transport costs & life history on foraging patterns and midden composition. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, in press.

Codding, B.F., A.R. Whitaker, D.W. Bird (2013). Global patterns in the exploitation of shellfish. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, in press.

Scelza, B., D.W. Bird, R. Bliege Bird (2013). Bush tucker, shop tucker: production, consumption and diet at an Aboriginal outstation. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, in press.

Bird, D.W., B.F. Codding, R. Bliege Bird, D.W. Zeanah (2012). Risky pursuits: implications of Martu hunting strategies for archaeological measures of subsistence change. American Antiquity 77:186-194.

Bliege Bird, R., B.F. Codding, P. Kauhanen, D.W. Bird (2012). Aboriginal hunting buffers climate-driven fire-size variability in Australia’s spinifex grasslands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 109:10287-10292.

Bird, D.W. and J.F. O’Connell (2012). Human behavioral ecology. In Archaeological Theory Today, 2nd Edition, I. Hodder (ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bliege Bird, R., B. Scelza, D.W. Bird and E.A. Smith (2012) The hierarchy of virtue: mutualism, altruism, and signaling in Martu women's cooperative hunting. Evolution and Human Behavior 33:64-78.

Codding, B.F., D.W. Bird and T.L. Jones (2012). A land of work: foraging behavior and ecology. In California: Contemporary Issues in the Archaeology of a Goodly Llande, T.L. Jones and J.E. Perry (eds). Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, pp 115-131.

Codding, B.F., R. Bliege Bird, D.W. Bird (2011). Provisioning offspring and others: risk-energy trade-offs and gender differences in hunter-gatherer foraging strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278:2502-2509.

Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (2010). Competing to be leaderless: food sharing and magnanimity among Martu Aborigines. In The Evolution Of Leadership: Transitions In Decision Making From Small-Scale To Middle-Range Societies, J. Kanter, K. Vahn and J. Earkins (eds), pp. 21-49. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

Codding, B.F., D.W. Bird, R. Bliege Bird (2010). Interpreting abundance indices: some zooarchaeological implications of Martu foraging. Journal of Archaeological Science (in press).

Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, B.F. Codding (2009). In pursuit of mobile prey: Martu hunting strategies and archaeofaunal interpretation. American Antiquity 74:3-29.

Bliege Bird, R., B.F. Codding, D.W. Bird (2009). What explains differences in men’s and women’s production? Determinants of gendered foraging inequalities among Martu. Human Nature 20(2):105-129.

Bird, D.W. (2009). The inherent value of foraging. Arena Magazine 98:30-33.

Bliege Bird, R., D.W. Bird, B.F. Codding, C.H. Parker, J. Holland Jones (2008). The “fire stick farming” hypothesis: Australian Aboriginal foraging strategies, biodiversity and anthropogenic fire mosaics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105: 1479-14801.

Bliege Bird, R. and D.W. Bird (2008). Why women hunt: risk and contemporary foraging in a Western Desert Aboriginal community. Current Anthropology 49:655-693.

Bird, D.W. and B.F. Codding (2008). Human behavioral ecology and the use of ancient landscapes. In Handbook of Landscape Archaeology, B. David and J. Thomas (eds), pp. 396-408. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Bird, D.W. and J.F. O'Connell (2006). Behavioral Ecology and Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research, DOI 10.1007/s10814-006-9003-6.

Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, and C.H. Parker. (2005) Aboriginal burning regimes and hunting strategies in Australia’s Western Desert. Human Ecology 33: 443-464

Bliege Bird, R. and D. Bird (2005) Human hunting seasonality. In: Primate Seasonality, ed. D. Brockman and C. van Schaik, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (2005). Mardu children’s hunting strategies in the Western Desert, Australia: foraging and the evolution of human life histories. In Hunter Gatherer Childhoods, B.S. Hewlett and M.E. Lamb eds, New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, and J.L. Richardson (2004). Meriam ethnoarchaeology: shellfishing and shellmiddens. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Cultural Heritage Series 3(1): 183-197.

Carter, M., A. Barham, S. O’Connor, P. Veth, D.W. Bird, and R. Bliege Bird (2004). The Meriam Islands archaeological project: preliminary results of excavations on Mer and Dauar, eastern Torres Strait. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Cultural Heritage Series 3(1): 164-182.

Carter, M, P. Veth, A. Barham, D.W. Bird, S. O'Connor, and R. Bird. (2004). Archaeology of the Murray Islands, Torres Strait: implications for a regional prehistory. In Woven Histories, Dancing Lives: Torres Strait Islander Identity, Culture and History, R. Davis (ed.), pp. 234-258. London: Australian Aboriginal Studies Press.

Bird, D.W, R. Bliege Bird, and C. H. Parker (2003). Women who hunt with fire: Aboriginal resource use and fire regimes in Australia's Western Desert. Arid Lands Newsletter 54: ISSN 1092-5481.

Smith, E.A. and R. Bliege Bird and D.W. Bird (2003) The benefits of costly signaling: Meriam turtle hunters Behavioral Ecology 14:116-126.

Bird, D.W., J.L. Richardson, P.M. Veth, and A.J. Barham (2002). Explaining shellfish variability in middens on the Meriam Islands, Torres Strait Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science 29:457-469.

Bliege Bird, R. and D. Bird (2002) Constraints of knowing or constraints of growing? Fishing and collecting by the children of Mer. Human Nature 13:239-267.

Bird, D. and R. Bliege Bird (2002) Children on the reef: slow learning or strategic foraging. Human Nature 13:269-297.

Bliege Bird, R., D.W. Bird, Geoff Kushnick, and E.A. Smith (2002). Risk and reciprocity in Meriam food sharing. Evolution and Human Behavior 23:297-321.

Bliege Bird, R., E.A. Smith, and D.W. Bird (2001). The hunting handicap: costly signaling in male foraging strategies. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 50:9-19.

Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (2000) The Ethnoarchaeology of Juvenile Foragers: shellfishing strategies among Meriam children. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:461-476.

Bliege Bird, R. and D.W. Bird (1997) Delayed reciprocity and tolerated theft: the behavioral ecology of food sharing strategies. Current Anthropology 38(1):49-78.

Bird, D.W. (1997). Behavioral ecology and the archaeological consequences of central place foraging among the Meriam. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 7:291-306.

Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (1997). Contemporary shellfish gathering strategies among the Meriam of the Torres Strait Islands, Australia: testing predictions of a central place foraging model. Journal of Archaeological Science 24:39-63.