Taylere Bernett's Honors Defense
Taylere Bernett will present Avian Response to Feathering Habitat Edges in an Agricultural Landscape in Southwestern Ohio on Friday, April 18, at 10:00 a.m. in 383B Kottman Hall.
Edge feathering seems to be a beneficial habitat restoration method for early successional wildlife species. Past studies have shown that it can be effective at improving population numbers of certain game bird species, such as northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Therefore, it is expected that edge feathering will also lead to increases in edge-inhabiting songbird species. This study aims to evaluate whether or not edge feathering benefits specific Federal Trust species in Ohio that are of conservation concern. Songbirds were observed using point counts to determine presence and abundance in treated and control sites. Vegetation data was evaluated on treated and control plots by measuring tree basal area, ground cover, horizontal visual obstruction, cone-of-vulnerability measures, and shrub density. 14 birds were abundant enough to be statistically analyzed, and 3 of these are listed as “of conservation concern”. Linear regression models were used to evaluate relationships between bird species and treatment type, site location, and vegetation characteristics. Most did not show statistically significant relationships to edge feathered plots, but there were a few that indicated correlations with specific habitat variables. This supports the hypothesis that edge feathering has some impact on presence and abundance of important bird species, and that it may show more promising results as a method of habitat restoration, should the Ohio Department of Natural Resource continue to maintenance and evaluate these sites.