Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects
The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and other avian monitoring projects have been used as evidence that many bird species are declining. Two guilds which have seen major declines are the grassland obligate and woodland species (Wentworth et al 2010; Peterjohn and Sauer 1994). Some species have been experiencing an increase, including the Brown-headed Cowbird; a brood-parasite which can cause decreased fitness in host species (Brittingham and Temple 1983). BBS data collected in Kentucky from 1998-2011 was used for statistical analysis for this project. This data was used to answer 4 questions. The first was did the Kentucky Upper Green River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (UGRW CREP) have a significant effect on any common grassland or grassland obligate species? We found no species showing any significant change in populations overtime due to the instillation of CREP. The second question was directed at determining if any species show a preference for deep forest, mixed, or agricultural land cover type? Species showing a significant preference for a certain of cover type were the Pileated woodpecker (p=0.031), Wood Thrush (p=0.001), Red-Eyed Vireo (p=0.0001), Kentucky Warbler (p=0.039), Acadian Flycatcher (p=0.021), Eastern Wood Peewee (p=0.025), Worm-eating Warbler (p=0.015), and the American Redstart (p=0.029). The last part of this study was to see if any species had a preference for routes with high, medium, or low Brown-headed iii Cowbird counts. Species who’s populations showed a significant relationship to Brownheaded Cowbird densities included the American Robin (p=0.01), the Wood Thrush (p=0.023), the Field Sparrow (p=0.0001), the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (p=0.003), and the Brown Thrasher (p=0.01).
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Albert Meier
Wigginton, Sara K., "Trends in Avian Populations of Kentucky and Implications in Conservation" (2013). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 413.