Habitat and reproductive success

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Habitat type can dramatically affect wildlife by influencing availability of resources (such as food) or the frequency of nest predation.  Human-dominated areas such as golf courses can provide habitat for wildlife, but may have reduced arthropod abundance, which can lower habitat quality for birds.  

 

For my MS research, I investigated habitat quality and reproductive success of bluebirds nesting on golf courses and in managed parks (turfgrass areas) and in nearby fields (reference areas) in Wisconsin, USA.  Turfgrass areas had significantly lower arthropod biomass. When foraging, bluebirds made more successful prey captures on turfgrass than in reference areas, but individual foraging success did not influence fledging success or number of broods.  Overall there were no differences between turfgrass and reference areas in terms of the number of eggs laid or young fledged.

 

The results of this study suggest that despite having lower food abundance, golf courses can potentially provide valuable habitat for bluebirds. Although I am not currently conducting research on this topic, it is still something that interests me.