By Monroe, Ellis, Dufresne *This is a follow-up to the previous post
Surprisingly, many bird species populate the Statesville, NC area. Currently we are taking an inventory of bird species along a section of a greenway trail. We are conducting a point count, which means we are traveling to four locations along our greenway transect. At each location, we identify every bird possible for 8 minutes and record the species and number. There are occasions where we are not able to count the exact number due to a flock of birds that are too large to count or because we are only hearing them and cannot see them. If this is the case, we try our best using Crnell software. We are counting the number of birds because we want to obtain enough information to compare bird diversity of this greenway section to bird diversity of Iredell County using eBird data and Christmas Bird count data.
It is interesting to think about whether coyotes in the area have helped increase songbird diversity over recent years by depressing the populations of local mesopredators (i.e. raccoons, opossums, foxes). On the other hand, coyotes, being the top predator here, could have had a negative impact on the bird population because of direct predation. This theory of whether or not trophic cascades exist could be hard to test. However, it will be interesting to look for correlations between bird diversity before coyotes in Iredell County, NC and bird diversity after coyotes. I also am curious to see how much coyotes actually prey on bird eggs and fledglings.