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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Swallows and Sparrows in the Shop and Street Market-Interface of Nepal: Towards a First Open Access GIS Data and Model Inference on the Role of Religion in Bird Distribution

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AUTHORS: Lindsay E. Hansen, University of California Berkeley; Falk Huettmann, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Andy Baltensperger*, National Park Service

ABSTRACT: Birds are known to be excellent indicators of environmental health. In Nepal, 15% of the naturally occurring bird species are nationally threatened due to human-caused habitat alteration, largely due to urbanization. However, little research is available providing species distribution models and richness/evenness calculations for birds living in urban spaces. A large majority of Nepali people follow Hindu or Buddhist traditions. Culturally they see birds and other animals as spiritually divine and deserving respect and welcoming. Therefore it is common for shop owners to encourage birds to visit shops in the mornings via the spreading of bird seed, and it is customary to leave alone any nest birds have built inside of shops, restaurants and homes. In 2016 and 2017 we conducted a study of avian species roosting and nesting in and around shops and restaurants in urban centers of Nepal. This study created the first database of bird abundance and bird nesting habits in urban spaces within Nepal to inform and advise future management and research decisions within the country. Georeferenced avian point counts, vegetation/urbanization assessments, and nest counts were conducted within Kathmandu and Pokhara, and smaller mountain villages in Nepal. This was done to investigate a gradient of urbanization that determines the level of urbanization preferred by different functional groups of birds, as well as to determine the likelihood a bird nest would be found in a shop given the urbanization gradient of the shop and religious background of the shop owner. Data mining and machine learning algorithms were used to model, predict and extrapolate the effect of religious affiliation and urban predictors on bird nest acceptance, distribution, population spread and nesting habits of avian species. This study will develop a quantitative assessment of urban species distribution throughout Nepali cities and village centers.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

Attendees (3)