Sarah Bridwell 
Restoring Urban Riparian Habitat: Do Manipulations Affect the Behavior and Abundance of Avian Seed Dispersers

Ecological Restoration is a process in which humans attempt to restore a previously natural area and to reverse damage done by mankind.  Areas such as these are very important in urban ecosystems.  Our experimental site is one of these restoration sites in which we are attempting to determine how much impact the modifications have on the behavior of various avian species.  The plots in both the control and experimental areas have 2 different habitat types; upland, consisting mostly of weedy plants, and lakeshore, riparian habitat with woody plants.  Observations of bird behavior in the 80 plots are conducted in thirty-minute sessions, four plots being the focus in each session, by 2 observers (one for upland and the other for lakeshore plots).  Data analysis will be performed thoroughly after fall observations have been taken and we will compare rates of bird visitations and specific behaviors among different plot types (i.e., perch, fence, both, none/control) and also between experimental and control areas.  Our analyses will allow us to detect large and small-scale responses to the perches and fences that had been installed.  We observed a total of 43 species in the Pimple Lake watershed, 16 of which have visited the study site briefly, and 6 that have centered their activities in the area.  Three species reproduced in the area including song sparrows (Melospizia melodia), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularia) but their territories have appeared to be unaffected by the structures. Visitation rates for example were increased in the experimental plots versus the control plots, especially in the lakeshore plots.

Faculty Mentor: Jodee Hunt

UPDATE:

Sarah presented at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference December 9-12, 2007 in Madison, WI.

Page last modified July 14, 2009