This is the first study to examine the influence of Great Lakes shoreline residential development on forest breeding bird communities on any of the Great Lakes. This study took place near Houghton Michigan but may be relevant for Minnesota’s coastal areas given that migrating birds utilize common flyways, and their habitat and movements have trans-boundary characteristics. For these reasons it is included in the study. The abstract and key points are reproduced below. Abstract: “We examined the influence of shoreline residential development on breeding bird communities along forested portions of Lake Superior and hypothesized that anthropogenic changes related to housing development would alter bird community structure compared to areas without human development. We used point counts to compare relative abundance of bird species in relation to residential development at coarse (along 1 km shoreline stretches with and without housing/cottage development) and fine (developed and undeveloped sides of a shoreline access road) spatial scales during the 2005 breeding season. More species had development related differences in abundance at the finer-scale analysis than at the coarse scale. American Crows and American Robins were more abundant on the developed, shoreline side of shoreline access roads. Red-breasted Nuthatches, Blackthroated Green Warblers, and Red-eyed Vireos were more abundant on the undeveloped, inland side of shoreline access roads. Several species were detected exclusively in developed or undeveloped forest areas. The pattern of development-related differences in relative abundance of bird species depended on the scale at which data were analyzed, suggesting that many species may respond to habitat differences within the 100 m scale quite distinct from how they respond to differences at the scale of thousands of meters.”
The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 122(2), p. 296-306
Ford, Michelle T; Flaspohler, David J.
Scale-dependent Response by Breeding Songbirds to Residential Development Along Lake Superior.
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