Presenters

Cole BourqueFollow

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Sarah Guindre-Parker

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Abstract Populations of aerially insectivorous birds are declining throughout North America. Urbanization may be indirectly contributing to this decline through its varying effects on populations of insects, an important food source in most insectivores' diet, especially those undergoing breeding efforts. How increasing urban sprawl and subsequent fluctuations in insect populations could impact various species at higher trophic levels is an important area of current study for future conservation endeavors. Certain habitats, with increased insect abundance, could facilitate higher provisioning rates and allow breeding parents to more effectively nourish their young. In addition, brooding and guarding behaviors in breeding birds may be altered depending on the relative insect availability in the environment. In this study, we seek to determine if insect availability is correlated to offspring provisioning rate, guarding, or brooding behaviors in species of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) using insect data collected in environments ranging from urban to rural. We will present findings from our work that have implications for predicting how birds that rely on insects during breeding may be affected by urbanization.

Disciplines

Behavior and Ethology | Poultry or Avian Science

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Impact of Fluctuating Insect Availability Levels on Parental Care Behavior in Insectivorous Birds

Abstract Populations of aerially insectivorous birds are declining throughout North America. Urbanization may be indirectly contributing to this decline through its varying effects on populations of insects, an important food source in most insectivores' diet, especially those undergoing breeding efforts. How increasing urban sprawl and subsequent fluctuations in insect populations could impact various species at higher trophic levels is an important area of current study for future conservation endeavors. Certain habitats, with increased insect abundance, could facilitate higher provisioning rates and allow breeding parents to more effectively nourish their young. In addition, brooding and guarding behaviors in breeding birds may be altered depending on the relative insect availability in the environment. In this study, we seek to determine if insect availability is correlated to offspring provisioning rate, guarding, or brooding behaviors in species of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) using insect data collected in environments ranging from urban to rural. We will present findings from our work that have implications for predicting how birds that rely on insects during breeding may be affected by urbanization.

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