Response of Birds to Habitat Types, Temperature, and Precipitation in Central Parkland Natural Subregion of Beaver County, Alberta
Bourgeois, Kelsey Danielle
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Many avian species are in decline throughout Canada. The Alberta Central Parkland Natural Subregion may provide a stronghold for maintaining avian diversity; however, large portions of this area have been affected by human development. To protect avian species diversity and richness at both the local and landscape levels within this rapidly changing area, it is important to understand the specific habitat variables that influence avian species in this subregion. Potential habitat and climate associations with bird numbers were studied using new and evolving technologies including acoustic autonomous recording units in association with existing data collected by University of Alberta-Augustana Campus. The goal of the research was to determine what relationships, if any, exist in the Central Parkland Natural Subregion between avian species diversity and richness and habitat variables such as general habitat patch type and climate. Using the acoustic data and temperature and precipitation data from the Government of Alberta, there were negative correlations between bird numbers and temperature. In addition, bird richness positively correlated with precipitation. Further research is needed to statistically verify additional habitat associations within the Central Parkland; however, from the current results, we can work with landowners and Beaver County to protect habitats linked to high avian richness and diversity, with particular focus on anticipating avian response to climate change effects.