Lesson Five: Bye-bye Birdie
Skill level: Advanced
Classes appropriate for:
Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology
Avian ecologists (scientists who study the ecology of birds) at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest have been collecting data on birds for over 40 years. These data represent one of the longest bird studies ever conducted and have allowed scientists to try to answer questions such as: How do the population sizes of different species of birds change over time? What types of habitats do birds favor? What types of food do they prefer to eat? Which animals prey upon birds? How does climate affect birds? Using these data, scientists are able to learn more about what sorts of natural or human influences affect bird populations, and why. This is an excellent example of one of the benefits of long-term monitoring. By graphing bird abundance data collected from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest from 1969-2010, students will identify population trends among birds, observe the value of long-term data collection, and develop science process skills by designing additional studies to further investigate factors affecting bird abundance.