Research Activities and Interests
Dr. Bird is Associate Professor of ecological anthropology, with broad interests in how social and ecological factors interact to influence patterns of resource use and their archaeological expressions. He focuses especially on questions about livelihood decisions and habitats, exploring the dynamics of human subsistence practices, their role in ecosystem function, and their archaeological implications in Australia and Western North America. His current projects involve collaborations between Indigenous communities, ethnographers, ecologists, geographers and archaeologists on interdisciplinary topics including the socio-ecological organization of foraging economies, anthropogenic habitat modification, and environmental change. Much of his field time is spent in close collaboration with Martu - the Traditional Owners of a large Native Title determination in the Great and Little Sandy Deserts, Western Australia - working on issues of hunting practices, fire ecology, and sustainability. Previously Dr. Bird spent many years conducting field work with Meriam Islanders in the Torres Straight on inter-tidal subsistence strategies and coastal archaeology. His work on subsistence ecology is widely published in international science journals
Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, Nyalangka Taylor, B.F. Codding (2016). A landscape architecture of fire: cultural and ecological emergence in Australia’s Western Desert. Current Anthropology 57(S13):S65-S79.
Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, B.F. Codding (2016). Pyrodiversity and the anthropocene: the role of fire in the broad spectrum revolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 25:105-116.
Bird, D.W. (2016). The roots of the question: Surprise Valley, Alyawarra, and the early development of James F. O’Connell’s ethnoarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 44:149-157.
Codding, B.F., D.W. Zeanah, R. Bliege Bird, C.H. Parker, and D.W. Bird (2016). Martu ethnoarchaeology: foraging ecology and the marginal value of site structure. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 44:166-176.
Klein, R.G. and D.W. Bird (2016). Shellfishing and human evolution. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 44:198-205.
Bliege Bird, R., B.F. Codding, D.W. Bird (2016) People, ENSO, and fire in Australia: fire regimes and climate controls in hummock grasslands. Philosophical Transactions B 371(1696):20150343.
Bliege Bird, R., B.F. Codding, and D.W. Bird (2016). Economic, social and ecological contexts of hunting, sharing and fire in the Western Desert of Australia. In Why Forage? 21st Century Hunting and Gathering, B.F. Codding and K. Kramer (eds), pp. 213-230. University of New Mexico Press: Santa Fe.
Codding, B.F., D.W. Bird, and R. Bliege Bird (2015). The real cost of closing remote communities. Arena Magazine 135:5-7.
Zeanah, D.W., B.F. Codding, D.W. Bird, R. Bliege Bird, and P. Veth (2015). Diesel and damper: changes in seed use and mobility following contact amongst the Martu of Western Australia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39:51-62.
Codding, B.F. and D.W. Bird (2015). Behavioral ecology and the future of archaeological science. Journal of Archaeological Science 56:9-20.
Codding, B.F., R. Bliege Bird, P. Kauhanen, D.W. Bird (2014). Conservation or co-evolution? Intermediate levels of Aboriginal burning and hunting have positive effects on kangaroo populations in Western Australia. Human Ecology 42: 659-669.
Codding, B.F., J.F. O’Connell, D.W. Bird (2014). Shellfishing and the colonization of Sahul: a multivariate model evaluating the dynamic effects of prey utility, transport costs and life history on foraging patterns and midden composition. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 9:238–252.
Scelza, B.A., D.W. Bird, R. Bliege Bird (2014). Bush tucker, shop tucker: production, consumption and diet at an Aboriginal outstation. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 53:98-117.
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.
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, 280:20132297.
Codding, B.F. and D.W. Bird (2013). Finding fire: a global perspective on traditional burning in California. California Archaeology, 5:1-10.
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.
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.
Bird, D.W. and J.F. O’Connell (2012). Human behavioral ecology. In Archaeological Theory Today, 2nd Edition, I. Hodder (ed.), pp. 37-61. Cambridge: Polity Press.
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.
Bliege Bird, R., B. Scelza, D.W. Bird, 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., 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. Vaughn 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 37:3200-3210.
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 20:105-129.
Bird, D.W. (2009). The inherent value of foraging. Arena Magazine 98:30-33.
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.
Bliege Bird, R., D.W. Bird, B.F. Codding, C. Parker, J.H. Jones (2008). The “fire stick farming” hypothesis: Australian Aboriginal foraging strategies, biodiversity and anthropogenic fire mosaics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105:14796-14801.
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 J.F. O’Connell (2006). Behavioral ecology and archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 14:143-188.
Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, C.H. Parker (2005). Aboriginal burning regimes and hunting strategies in Australia’s Western Desert. Human Ecology 33:443-464.
Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, C.H. Parker (2004). Women who hunt with fire. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2004(1): 90-96.
Bird, D.W., R. Bliege Bird, J.L. Richardson (2004). Meriam ethnoarchaeology: shellfishing and shellmiddens. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Cultural Heritage Series 3(1):183-197.
Bird, D.W., J.L. Richardson, P.M. Veth, A.J. Barham (2002). Explaining shellfish variability in middens on the Meriam Islands, Torres Strait Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 29:457-469.
Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (2002). Children on the reef: slow learning or strategic foraging? Human Nature 13:269-298.
Bird, D.W. and R. Bliege Bird (2000). The ethnoarchaeology of juvenile foraging: shellfishing strategies among Meriam children. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:461-476.
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.
Bliege Bird, R. and D.W. Bird (1997). Delayed reciprocity and tolerated theft: the behavioral ecology of food sharing strategies. Current Anthropology 38:49-78.