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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:00pm - 4:15pm
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT: Birds in Corn Belt Cities: Patterns in Nesting Guild Communities in Eastern Iowa Urban Landscapes

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AUTHORS: Sander, Heather A.*, University of Iowa; Brandon MacDougall, University of Iowa

ABSTRACT: In today’s human dominated world, biodiversity conservation must occur in anthropogenic landscapes, including urban landscapes. Such conservation requires understanding of the patterns in urban biodiversity and factors underlying them. Recent studies identified many such patterns; but occurred primarily in large cities in heavily-urbanized settings. Patterns in smaller cities in other landscape contexts (e.g., agricultural) remain poorly understood. This study identifies patterns in nesting bird communities and relationships with urban habitat structure in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, small cities in an intensively-agricultural landscape in eastern Iowa, USA. We identify distributional patterns for vegetation-nesting birds (17 tree-nesting, 3 primary cavity-nesting, 8 secondary cavity-nesting, 7 shrub-nesting species) on sites with different vegetation and urban intensities and identify associations among species and urban habitats. We find significant differences in the composition and abundance of guilds among sites. Tree-nesting species exhibit higher abundance and species richness in settings with low urban intensity and high tree cover, while shrub-nesting species richness and abundance peak in settings with moderate tree cover and urban intensity. The highest abundance and richness of primary cavity-nesting species occurs on low urban intensity and high tree cover sites. Secondary-cavity nester abundance peaks on high urban intensity sites due to the influence of exotic House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). This guild exhibits low richness on high urban intensity and low tree-cover sites, but richness is similar among other sites. An analysis using detailed urban vegetation and built environmental attributes indicates differences in relationships with these attributes among guilds, but most show positive relationships between abundance and tree diameter-at-breast-height and canopy cover and negative relationships with building and lawn coverage, albeit of differing magnitudes. Shrub nesters exhibit positive relationships with understory vegetative cover. This work increases our understanding of species in agricultural cities, supporting conservation planning in these settings.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:00pm - 4:15pm CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)

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