Project Title

Bird behavior in in the city: is flight initiation distance shorter in more urban trails

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Sarah Guindre-Parker

Disciplines

Behavior and Ethology | Ornithology | Zoology

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Across the country and worldwide, urban areas continue to expand and encroach on previously wild habitats. Urbanization can affect animal behavior as organisms respond to the changes in their environment which they may perceive as stressors. Previous studies have noted that birds in more urban areas tend to have shorter flight initiation distances than those in more rural areas, which is defined as the distance at which a potential threat (here, a human observer) can approach before the animal flees. This study examines whether flight initiation distance changes along the urban to rural gradient in two species of bird (Cardinalis cardinalis and Mimus Polyglottos) in Georgia, USA. A single person walking towards the bird was used to stimulate flight as a disturbance. Birds along urban and rural trails were assayed to test whether perceived threats lead to a shorter flight initiation or shorter distance fled in bold urban birds compared to shy rural ones.

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Bird behavior in in the city: is flight initiation distance shorter in more urban trails

Across the country and worldwide, urban areas continue to expand and encroach on previously wild habitats. Urbanization can affect animal behavior as organisms respond to the changes in their environment which they may perceive as stressors. Previous studies have noted that birds in more urban areas tend to have shorter flight initiation distances than those in more rural areas, which is defined as the distance at which a potential threat (here, a human observer) can approach before the animal flees. This study examines whether flight initiation distance changes along the urban to rural gradient in two species of bird (Cardinalis cardinalis and Mimus Polyglottos) in Georgia, USA. A single person walking towards the bird was used to stimulate flight as a disturbance. Birds along urban and rural trails were assayed to test whether perceived threats lead to a shorter flight initiation or shorter distance fled in bold urban birds compared to shy rural ones.

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