Using GIS Mapping to Examine Influence of Forest and Box Spacing on Bluebird Nesting Success (page 3)
- Gloves - clean out boxes
- Nails - replace missing nails
- Log/Data Book - keep our collected data
- Pencils - write down data
- GPS - mark the boxes location
- Transportation to al 50 boxes - In order to check boxes we needed to get to them
Arc View - Computer Program that mapped data
The data in this experiment tells many things about the monitoring of the bluebird boxes and the change in bluebird population over the years. The total of bluebirds fledged has both decreased and increased rapidly in the period 1999-2002. In the year 1999 there was a total of 71 bluebirds fledged. In 2000 there were a total of 13 bluebirds fledged and in 2001 there were a total of only 9 bluebirds fledged. Though the slightly non-successfulness of 2000 and 2001 the total bluebirds fledged in 2002 came to a total of 163. There could be many reasons for the inconsistent data. One factor that could have been a flaw in data is how consistent the boxes were checked. The boxes should be checked once every three weeks. If this requirement were not met the caretaker of the boxes would be slightly behind in their data and would also be put in a position to come to a conclusion. The conclusion made could be wrong. For example, if the box is not checked in the time period that a house sparrow takes over the bluebird box and throws out the bluebird eggs the house sparrows fledge the caretaker might come to the conclusion that the bluebirds fledged though they did not. These are some reasons the data in the experiment are inconsistent or incorrect.
Relationship to Forest
From the data collected from measuring the distance from box to forest I found out many things. One thing that I found was most unsuccessful bird boxes were less than about 200 meters away from the forest. I also found that successful boxes were all over 200 meters away. Some reasons I think bird boxes closer than 200 feet were unsuccessful are there are many predators that live in the forest. For Example, snakes and raccoons are all forest predators and near the forest the birds can't see them coming. If the box were in the field however there would be more time to see predators coming. Competitors are also a reason that bird boxes near forest are unsuccessful. This is mainly because many forest birds compete with bluebirds for nest boxes.
Relationship to Other Boxes
From the data I collected I found that bird boxes that were about 200 feet (60 meters) and farther were successful. Therefore my hypothesis was significantly close to the data gathered. My background information also says that around breeding season the birds expect to have 2-3 acres to themselves and are very territorial which is a reason that successful bird boxes were so far away from each other.
- Successful boxes are found throughout the island.
- Least successful boxes are found close to large forest areas.
- Surprisingly, many successful boxes were found clustered together near the Conference Lodge area, where there was increased human activity.
- The three most successful boxes from over the four-year period were found on the East Side of the island. Agricultural fields on the side of main roads near power lines all surrounded the three.
- No successful boxes were found near open water, but several were found at the tips of coves or near marshes.
- The southern half of the island had more active boxes than the northern half.
- Boxes that were clustered close together had limited activity.
- 2002 had more active boxes near water than any other year. A possible answer to this outcome could be that we had a drought that year.
In this project I hoped to answer the problem, "Does the environment surrounding bluebird boxes effect how successful the boxes are?"
In order to answer this problem I had to check fifty bluebird boxes on Wye Island. This was definitely an extended step because it took the whole summer to complete. I checked the boxes about once every three to four weeks. I then made sure all my data was in my data log. Next, we received the GPS and could mark the location of all 50 boxes in order to accomplish my next step, which was to plot all the location points onto a map using the program Arc View.
I noticed many observations and patterns in the data on the Arc View maps. Some things I noticed were there were not many successful boxes near large forest areas. I also observed that in the map of 2002 many of the successful boxes were clustered together near the conference lodge where there was increased human activity. A possible explanation for this could be there was a lot of water near the lodge and coincidentally that was the year we had a big drought. Agricultural fields around the main roads surrounded the three most successful boxes found on the whole Island in the four-year period. The three boxes were all somewhat surrounded by power lines.
I think that since power lines play such an important role to a bluebird especially when there is only a field surrounding them that they needed a place to perch and hunt and the lines were a great place for doing that.