As agricultural and urban areas expand across Illinois, birds continue to face the consequences of lost native habitat. Studies have shown, however, that urban areas can act as alternative habitat for birds, allowing their species to persist outside of their preferred primary habitat. Beginning in 2019, a breeding bird survey and habitat analysis were conducted in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, and the results were compared with data from six USGS Breeding Bird Survey routes in rural agricultural areas. The goal of this study was to determine if urban spaces support a higher diversity and abundance of breeding bird species than agricultural zones, and if so, what habitat characteristics of urban spaces can best support breeding birds. This presentation will provide an overview of the study and findings, and it will emphasize the importance of native habitat and plant species for bird populations.
Leah Bieniak has been an Illinois resident all her life, having grown up in Kane County, and the many natural areas near her home helped to foster her love of the environment. She is currently an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Ecology and a minor in Biology at Illinois Wesleyan University (Class of 2021). During her time at IWU, Leah has had the honor of becoming a Robert S. and Nell B. Eckley Scholar, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and a Udall Scholar. As a “bird nerd,” Leah is grateful to have been a part of this breeding bird survey study, and she looks forward to working at the intersection of human activity and the environment in the future.
This program will occur online via Zoom. A link to register for this program will be available here one week before the program.