2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Predicting Habitat Suitability for Rusty Blackbirds in Missouri
Lauren Canham♦
Dr. Jason Luscier, Faculty Mentor

The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is considered one of the fastest declining bird species in North America and consequently it is important to develop region-specific conservation strategies for these populations. Little is known about landscape-level habitat features Rusty Blackbirds hone in on when choosing a migratory stopover location. Rusty Blackbirds use stopover sites in Missouri to rest and refuel before continuing on to wintering or breeding grounds during migration. In order to better understand landscape-level habitat suitability for Rusty Blackbirds in Missouri, we used ArcGIS to model known Rusty Blackbird detections from eBird with spatially explicit data layers regarding land cover and rivers and streams. Rusty Blackbird habitat preferences described in the literature, such as bottomland hardwood forest, were used to develop habitat suitability maps. These habitat suitability maps were then used to predict areas and habitats where Rusty Blackbirds are most likely to stop on fall migration routes, allowing for the development of further research projects and conservation planning.

Keywords: Rusty Blackbird, Migration, Habitat Suitability, ArcGIS

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 303-2
Location: MG 1098
Time: 1:15

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student

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