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Winter marine birds in False Creek : a spatial analysis of bird distributions and anthropogenic disturbances Bandara, Sandamini; Barrette, Nicole; Carss, Jordyn; Fendick, Grace Apr 9, 2017

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0								Winter	marine	birds	in	False	Creek:	a	spatial	analysis	of	bird	distributions	and	anthropogenic	disturbances	A	STUDENT	AND	COMMUNITY	PARTNERSHIP	PROJECT	9TH	APRIL,	2017																																			 	1			1.	Executive	summary	1.1	Rationale	The	City	of	Vancouver	has	the	ambition	to	be	one	of	the	greenest	cities	in	the	world	(City	of	Vancouver,	2012).	Through	bylaws	and	policy	changes,	they	have	committed	to	reduce	their	ecological	footprint,	enhance	urban	sustainability	and	meet	objectives	like	protecting	natural	spaces	from	development	and	restoring	natural	habitat.	In	order	to	achieve	their	goals,	the	City	needs	to	make	sustainable	development	decisions,	informed	by	research	about	surrounding	ecosystems	and	the	species	that	live	there.	False	Creek,	a	saltwater	inlet	on	the	south	end	of	downtown,	is	of	particular	interest	for	both	its	urban	and	natural	roles	within	the	city	landscape.	Proposed	development	plans	for	the	northeast	corner	of	False	Creek	created	interest	for	the	City	to	collect	more	information	about	the	status	of	the	ecosystem.	To	learn	more	about	the	health	of	the	False	Creek	ecosystem,	marine	birds	were	chosen	as	an	indicator	because	they	are	highly	integrated	in	both	the	aquatic	and	terrestrial	features	of	the	landscape,	are	sensitive	to	climate	change,	and	are	easily	identifiable.	Because	Vancouver	is	a	stopover	on	a	major	north-south	bird	migration	route	and	contains	regions	that	have	been	identified	as	Important	Bird	Areas	(IBAs)	according	to	internationally	recognized	standards,	the	city’s	role	in	providing	habitat	to	both	migratory	and	resident	species	is	globally	significant.		False	Creek	is	one	such	area	within	an	IBA,	but	no	detailed	studies	about	which	marine	birds	use	the	area	and	how	human	activities	disturb	different	species	has	been	attempted	to	date.	This	project	was	established	to	help	fill	information	gaps	by	conducting	a	baseline	survey	of	the	marine	birds	present	in	False	Creek	during	the	winter	months.				1.2	Methods	Observations	were	made	during	six	field	visits	using	a	moving	point	count	method	with	80	observation	points	spread	evenly	throughout	False	Creek.	The	area	around	each	observation	point	was	delineated	according	to	habitat	type	to	facilitate	data	recording	and	analysis.	Observations	were	recorded	on	datasheets	then	manipulated	in	excel	and	entered	into	GIS	for	spatial	analysis.		The	research	questions	driving	our	study	were:	1) Which	marine	bird	species	are	present	in	False	Creek	between	November	and	February?	2) What	are	the	distributions	of	the	observed	species	and	how	many	are	observed	in	the	field?	3) What	are	human	activities	that	disturb	marine	birds	in	False	Creek?	2		1.3	Findings	During	our	study,	we	observed	16	unique	marine	bird	species	and	3105	individuals	from	seven	sub-families	of	waterfowl,	four	of	which	had	sufficient	data	and	were	analyzed	individually	while	the	remaining	three	could	not	be	treated	individually	due	to	sparse	data	and	were	combined	into	an	Others	category.	Mapping	the	species	according	to	these	groups	is	justified	in	how	there	is	significant	overlap	in	the	ecological	niches	between	species	in	the	same	sub-family	and	helps	to	simplify	analysis.	Sub-families	included	in	our	analyses	were	the	Dabbling	Ducks,	Diving	Birds,	Cormorants,	Gulls	and	species	we	grouped	into	a	category	labelled	Others	that	we	did	not	observe	enough	times	to	accurately	analyze	for	habitat	use	patterns.	We	observed	two	BC	Blue	listed	species	(Great	Blue	Heron	and	Double-crested	Cormorant)	and	one	Red	listed	species	(Pelagic	Cormorant)	which	raise	conservation	concerns.		The	most	common	species	observed	were	from	the	Gulls,	Diving	Birds	and	Dabbling	Ducks	sub-families	(Figure	1).	Our	findings	are	summarized	in	a	collection	of	GIS	maps	illustrating	observed	distributions	and	densities	for	each	sub-family	with	charts	showing	habitat	preferences	(Figure	2).	The	maps	illustrate	that	species	density	and	distribution	are	not	uniform	throughout	False	Creek.	Species	are	observed	to	have	habitat	preferences	and	use	certain	areas	more	than	others	depending	on	their	specific	ecological	needs.	An	unexpected	finding	is	that	some	man-made	structures	actually	improved	habitat	quality	and	increase	use	because	they	provide	places	for	birds	to	rest,	nest	or	feed.		The	most	commonly	observed	anthropogenic	disturbances	were	off-leash	dogs	and	motorized	boats.	These	observations	are	mapped	according	to	activity	type	(Figure	3).	Almost	all	of	the	off-leash	dog	observations	occurred	outside	designated	off-leash	parks,	suggesting	a	possibility	for	changes	to	recreational	land	use.	Because	the	study	occurred	over	the	winter,	summer	recreational	activities	and	increased	use	of	the	area	will	likely	change	results.				Figure	1.	The	proportion	of	observations	of	each	sub-family	over	six	field	sessions.	The	sub-families	contained	in	Others	include	groups	where	only	one	species	was	observed	and	frequency	of	observations	was	very	low.		3				Figure	2.	A	map	showing	the	densities	and	distributions	of	Dabbling	Ducks	as	well	as	a	pie	chart	showing	habitat	preferences	according	to	how	often	they	were	observed	in	each	habitat	type.			4		Figure	 3.	 The	 frequencies	 of	 observed	 anthropogenic	 disturbances	 across	 all	 habitats	 in	 False	 Creek.	Larger	dots	denote	more	sightings.	1.4	Recommendations	Moving	forward,	the	City	of	Vancouver	can	use	information	about	which	marine	birds	use	False	Creek	and	which	habitats	they	use	the	most	to	assist	them	in	making	more	ecologically	conscious	development	decisions,	support	conservation	efforts	as	well	as	educate	the	public	and	promote	stewardship	in	the	community.	Some	specific	recommendations	we	have	are:	1) Implement	a	citizen	science	program	in	False	Creek	to	encourage	users	to	learn	more	about	the	local	ecology	and	raise	awareness	about	wildlife	in	urban	environments.	Potentially	useful	activities	include:	a. A	self-guided	birdwatching	tour	involving	informative	signage	that	indicates	locations	species	are	likely	to	be	observed	as	well	as	interesting	facts.		b. A	bird	bingo	activity	that	introduces	users	to	species	identification	and	highlights	how	marine	birds	use	the	area.	2) Consider	adding	landscape	features	to	new	developments	in	the	northeast	corner	of	False	Creek	that	make	spaces	more	bird-friendly.	Examples	include	ponds,	structures	for	perching,	and	protected	areas	for	nesting.		3) Perform	a	similar	study	in	the	summer	months	to	determine	the	seasonality	of	habitat	use,	species	composition	and	human	activities	and	to	analyze	the	relationship	between	disturbances	and	marine	bird	distributions	to	determine	correlations.	Examples	of	future	research	questions	include:	a. Do	marine	birds	avoid	certain	areas	because	of	disturbance	frequency	or	intensity?	b. Are	some	species	more	sensitive	to	anthropogenic	disturbances	than	others?	c. Does	protecting	areas	from	disturbances	(like	off-leash	dogs)	increase	bird	use	of	the	area?			2.	Author	Bios	• Sandamini	Bandara	is	a	fourth	year	environmental	science	student	with	a	focus	in	land,	air	and	water	systems.	She	wants	to	specialize	in	terrestrial	water	and	water	management	and	pursue	a	career	as	an	environmental	consultant.	• Nicole	Barrette	is	a	fourth	year	environmental	science	student	with	a	concentration	in	land,	air,	and	water	systems.	She	has	a	particular	interest	in	using	GIS	and	other	spatial	analysis	tools	for	problem	solving	in	environmental	issues	with	a	focus	on	the	effects	of	climate	change.	• Jordyn	Carss	is	a	fourth	year	environmental	science	student	specializing	in	land,	air	and	water	systems.	She	aspires	to	get	a	masters	degree	in	sustainable	architecture	and	design	passive	houses	specifically	adapted	to	the	climate	in	the	Pacific	Northwest.	• Grace	Fendick	is	a	fourth	year	environmental	science	student	with	a	concentration	in	ecology	and	conservation.	She	hopes	to	continue	to	promote	sustainability	throughout	her	life.		 	5		3.	Table	of	Contents	1.	Executive	summary	.................................................................................................................................	1	1.1	Rationale	..............................................................................................................................................................	1	1.2	Methods	................................................................................................................................................................	1	1.3	Findings	................................................................................................................................................................	2	1.4	Recommendations	............................................................................................................................................	4	2.	Author	Bios	................................................................................................................................................	4	4.	Background	................................................................................................................................................	7	4.1	Motivation	&	relevance	...................................................................................................................................	7	4.2	Area	overview	....................................................................................................................................................	7	5.	Glossary	.......................................................................................................................................................	9	6.	Introduction	...............................................................................................................................................	9	6.1	Location	................................................................................................................................................................	9	6.2	Landscape	Ecology	...........................................................................................................................................	9	6.3	Biology	...............................................................................................................................................................	10	7.	Methods	....................................................................................................................................................	11	7.1	Bird	Species	of	Focus	....................................................................................................................................	11	7.2	Study	area	.........................................................................................................................................................	13	7.3	Data	collection	................................................................................................................................................	13	7.4	Counting	method	............................................................................................................................................	14	7.5	Observation	points	........................................................................................................................................	15	7.6	Observation	zones	created	in	GIS	.............................................................................................................	16	7.7	Data	analysis	in	Excel	...................................................................................................................................	17	7.8	Bird	distributions	in	GIS	..............................................................................................................................	17	7.9	Disturbances	...................................................................................................................................................	17	8.	Sources	of	Error	.....................................................................................................................................	18	8.1	Field	survey:	Observation	error	...............................................................................................................	18	8.2	GIS:	Error	in	creating	observation	zones	...............................................................................................	18	8.3	GIS:	Error	in	spatial	analysis	......................................................................................................................	18	9.	Results	......................................................................................................................................................	19	9.1	Observed	bird	distributions	......................................................................................................................	19	9.1.1	Proportion	of	each	species’	observations	.................................................................................................	19	9.1.2	Biodiversity	................................................................................................................................................................	20	9.2	Habitat	Type	Preferences	by	Sub-Families	...........................................................................................	21	9.2.1	Cormorants	(Species	of	special	concern)	..................................................................................................	21	9.2.2	Dabbling	Ducks	.........................................................................................................................................................	21	9.2.3	Diving	Birds	................................................................................................................................................................	22	9.2.4	Gulls	.................................................................................................................................................................................	23	9.3	Distribution	of	other	species	observed	..................................................................................................	24	9.3.1	Canada	Goose	.............................................................................................................................................................	25	9.3.2	Great	Blue	Heron	(Species	of	special	concern)	......................................................................................	26	9.3.3	Belted	Kingfisher	.....................................................................................................................................................	26	9.4	Disturbances	...................................................................................................................................................	27	9.4.1	Density	of	all	anthropogenic	disturbances	..............................................................................................	27	9.4.2	Disturbances	due	to	dogs	(Both	off-leash	and	on-leash)	.................................................................	28	6		9.4.3	Disturbances	due	to	boats	(Both	motorized	and	non-motorized)	.............................................	29	10.	Discussion	.............................................................................................................................................	29	10.1	Discussion	on	bird	distributions	............................................................................................................	29	10.1.1	Cormorants	..............................................................................................................................................................	29	10.1.2	Dabbling	Ducks	......................................................................................................................................................	30	10.1.3	Diving	Birds	.............................................................................................................................................................	31	10.1.4	Gulls	..............................................................................................................................................................................	32	10.1.5	Other	species	...........................................................................................................................................................	32	10.1.6	General	Remarks	..................................................................................................................................................	33	10.2	Discussion	on	disturbances	.....................................................................................................................	33	10.2.1	Dogs	..............................................................................................................................................................................	34	10.2.2	Boats	............................................................................................................................................................................	34	10.2.3	Weather	......................................................................................................................................................................	34	11.	Citizen	science	.....................................................................................................................................	34	11.1	Bird	Bingo	......................................................................................................................................................	35	11.2	Informative	signs	........................................................................................................................................	36	12.	Recommendations	.............................................................................................................................	38	13.	Summary	...............................................................................................................................................	38	14.	Acknowledgements	............................................................................................................................	39	15.	References	............................................................................................................................................	40	15.1	Images	.............................................................................................................................................................	40	15.2	Information	...................................................................................................................................................	40	16.	Appendix	...............................................................................................................................................	43														7		4.	Background	4.1	Motivation	&	relevance	With	increasing	commitments	in	areas	such	as	conservation,	stewardship	and	sustainability,	the	municipal	government	is	acting	to	reduce	Metro	Vancouver’s	environmental	impacts	through	a	series	of	recent	bylaw	and	policy	changes	in	line	with	the	Greenest	City	Action	Plan’s	targets	for	2020.	One	of	the	biggest	challenges	to	meeting	our	sustainability	targets	is	the	impacts	of	urban	development	on	areas	with	significant	ecological	roles.	To	protect	these	ecologically	valuable	areas	and	minimize	the	effects	of	land	use	change	on	both	habitat	and	resident	wildlife,	the	health	of	natural	environments	within	our	city	needs	to	be	evaluated	and	considered	during	development.		False	Creek	is	an	area	within	Vancouver	that	has	both	important	ecological	features	and	valuable	development	sites.	With	recent	redevelopment	plans	proposed	for	sections	in	False	Creek,	the	City	is	interested	in	learning	more	about	how	it	functions	as	a	habitat	and	its	health	as	an	ecosystem.	Marine	bird	biodiversity	was	selected	to	evaluate	these	parameters	and	because	no	detailed	surveys	have	been	performed	over	the	entire	False	Creek	area	the	City’s	Sustainability	department	partnered	with	us	to	perform	fill	these	data	gaps	by	performing	a	baseline	survey	of	the	distributions	and	densities	of	marine	birds	in	False	Creek.	As	a	secondary	objective,	the	role	of	human	activities	in	the	area	as	disturbances	to	marine	birds	was	also	examined.		This	study	is	relevant	in	terms	of	timing	because	in	August	of	2018,	Vancouver	is	hosting	the	International	Ornithological	Congress.	Having	the	conference	in	the	city	will	increase	awareness	about	birds	in	Vancouver	and	expose	citizens	to	unique	learning	opportunities.	This	is	a	rare	occasion	for	scientific	engagement	and	surveys	like	this	can	be	used	to	inform	programs	and	activities	that	educate	the	public	about	local	ecology.		4.2	Area	overview	False	Creek	is	an	urbanized	saltwater	inlet	on	the	south	side	of	downtown	Vancouver	spanning	between	100	and	400	meters	wide,	three	kilometers	long	and	has	an	average	basin	depth	of	five	meters	(Vancouver	Economic	Commission,	2016).	Over	the	last	century,	industrialization	and	the	transformation	of	the	area	from	a	wetland	to	a	rail	yard	and	finally	to	urban	communities	has	altered	the	ecosystem	significantly	(Figures	4	&	5).	Today,	the	inlet	is	bordered	by	approximately	eight	kilometers	of	walking	and	biking	pathways	and	is	spanned	by	three	major	bridges.	Significant	water	activity	includes	10	active	marinas	with	berths	for	up	to	1500	boats	and	four	ferry	routes.	Continued	urbanization	has	contributed	to	a	decrease	in	the	presence	of	species	living	in	the	area	and	altered	ecosystem	dynamics	(Bird	Studies	Canada,	2011).			8			False	Creek	in	the	early	1900s		 	 	 False	Creek	during	the	late	1930s		False	Creek	in	the	1950s-1970s	 	 	 False	Creek	today	Figure	4.	Images	of	False	Creek	from	the	early	1990s-2000s	illustrating	land	use	changes	and	the	implications	of	human	activities	and	development	on	the	ecosystem.				9		Figure	 5.	 The	 timeline	 of	 False	 Creek	 history	 from	 pre-1990s	 to	 2016	 (City	 of	 Vancouver,	 2016	 &	Vancouver	Economic	Commission,	2016).	5.	Glossary	• Anthropogenic-	caused	by	humans.	• Biodiversity-	the	number	of	different	species	found	in	a	particular	area.	Also	called	species	richness.	• Disturbance-	an	activity	that	causes	marine	birds	to	become	visually	agitated	or	alter	their	behaviour.	Examples	of	disturbance	responses	include	flapping	their	wings,	flying	or	running	away.		• Ecosystem-	a	biological	community	of	organisms	and	their	interactions	with	their	surrounding	environment.	• Niche-	the	role	a	species	has	in	its	environment	and	how	it	meets	its	basic	needs	for	food	and	shelter.	• Sustainability-	acting	in	such	a	way	that	minimizes	or	removes	impacts	to	future	environments	and	does	not	degrade	the	capacity	of	future	generations	to	meet	their	needs.		6.	Introduction	6.1	Location	Vancouver	is	situated	in	a	spectacular	region	ecologically.	We	are	surrounded	by	an	amazingly	diverse	and	active	natural	landscape	where	distinct	ecosystems	overlap	and	combine,	providing	us	with	an	extremely	bountiful	environment	(Wilson,	2010).	Situated	where	the	Fraser	River	meets	the	Strait	of	Georgia	and	flanked	by	temperate	rainforests	and	coastal	mountains,	we	experience	the	shifts	of	seasons	and	the	associated	migrations	and	movements	of	wildlife.	An	example	of	this	is	how	Metro	Vancouver	is	a	stopover	and	wintering	location	on	the	Pacific	Flyway;	a	major	north-south	migratory	route	for	birds	that	extends	from	Alaska	down	to	South	America.	This	means	that	many	species	pass	through	our	region	during	their	seasonal	migrations,	resulting	in	dynamic	and	diverse	bird	populations	year-round.	For	this	reason,	areas	of	Metro	Vancouver	have	been	designated	as	Important	Bird	Areas	(IBAs)	according	to	internationally	recognized	criteria	with	the	goal	of	promoting	conservation	(Chute,	1998).	The	English	Bay	and	Burrard	Inlet	area	of	Metro	Vancouver	is	one	such	location	that	has	been	designated	an	IBA	because	it	is	important	habitat	for	both	congregatory	species	and	waterfowl	(Bird	Studies	Canada,	2017).	Included	in	the	IBA	are	the	False	Creek,	Vancouver	Harbour	and	Indian	Arm	regions,	which	encompass	a	variety	of	habitats	from	natural	forests	to	man-made	beaches	that	are	important	for	three	globally	significant	species	(Barrow’s	Goldeneye,	Western	Grebe	and	Surf	Scooter),	one	nationally	significant	species	(Great	Blue	Heron)	as	well	as	other	species	of	conservation	interest	in	British	Columbia	(such	as	Pelagic	and	Double-Crested	Cormorants).	6.2	Landscape	Ecology	Because	Metro	Vancouver	is	situated	along	the	Pacific	Flyway,	essential	habitat	for	both	migratory	and	resident	species	is	contained	within	and	around	the	urban	center.	Areas	that	are	especially	important	10		for	birds,	such	as	the	Burrard	Inlet	and	English	Bay	IBA	are	located	near	the	Fraser	River	Estuary,	where	seawater	meets	freshwater	to	create	a	unique	and	fragile	ecosystem	with	resources	and	shelter	suitable	for	diverse	bird	species	(Dawe,	Trethewey	&	Buechert,	1995).	Specific	landscape	features	of	the	Burrard	Inlet	and	English	Bay	region	include	sheltered	inlets,	tidal	sandflats	and	areas	of	industrial	development.	False	Creek,	in	particular,	is	highly	urbanized.	Despite	its	altered	state,	the	False	Creek	area	still	acts	as	important	habitat	for	many	bird	species.	Features	of	the	False	Creek	area	that	are	beneficial	to	bird	populations	include	cobbled	waterfronts	covered	in	seaweed	and	algae,	treed	parks,	and	freshwater	ponds.	6.3	Biology	Studying	how	birds	use	an	area	is	an	effective	way	to	gauge	ecosystem	health	because	birds	are	good	indicators	of	underlying	processes.	Marine	birds,	in	particular,	regularly	interact	with	the	ocean,	freshwater,	and	the	shoreline	and	are	sensitive	to	small	changes	in	any	part	of	their	environment.	For	example,	water	quality	affects	the	amount	and	types	of	seaweed	and	algae	that	can	grow	in	intertidal	areas.	Many	marine	birds	rely	on	this	vegetative	growth	as	a	primary	food	source,	so	changes	in	algal	growth	due	to	poor	water	quality	will	be	reflected	in	bird	population	health	(Ministry	of	Environment,	2006).	Similarly,	marine	birds	require	shoreline	features	to	nest	in,	such	as	reeds	and	tall	grasses	that	also	have	an	important	role	in	water	purification.	Modification	of	habitat	through	land	use	changes	that	turn	a	bog	into	a	dog	park	not	only	reduce	the	amount	of	suitable	nesting	space	for	birds,	but	also	eliminate	important	groundwater	filtration	processes.	Many	other	ecosystem	services	are	similarly	affected	by	land	use	change	and	can	go	undetected	for	long	periods	of	time.	Using	easily	detectable	proxies,	such	as	marine	bird	populations,	for	the	performance	of	ecosystem	services	allows	for	more	efficient	monitoring	and	a	better	understanding	of	how	our	actions	impact	our	environment.	Due	to	its	location	in	an	IBA	and	its	ecologically	productive	estuarine	features,	False	Creek	has	been	identified	as	important	habitat	for	both	resident	and	migratory	marine	birds.	According	to	a	previous	study	performed	in	2015	by	Butler	et	al.	(2015),	15	marine	bird	species	were	observed	in	the	False	Creek	area	over	the	course	of	their	year	long	study.	The	five	most	commonly	observed	species	were	Black	Oyster	Catchers,	California	Gulls,	Red-Breasted	Mergansers,	Pelagic	Cormorants	and	Ring-billed	Gulls.	Because	our	study	took	place	between	November	and	February,	we	expected	to	see	a	greater	presence	of	overwintering	migratory	waterfowl	like	Great	Blue	Herons,	Barrow’s	Goldeneyes	and	Bufflehead	ducks,	which	represent	three	of	the	seven	sub-families	of	waterfowl	relevant	to	this	region.	Bird	sub-families	are	groupings	of	species	with	similar	niches.	This	means	that	they	occupy	similar	habitats,	have	similar	diets	and	perform	the	same	characteristic	functions	(Table	1).	As	such,	these	groupings	are	useful	to	simplify	analyses	and	make	conclusions	about	related	species.			Sub-family	 Species	 Characteristics	Diving	Birds	 -Bufflehead	duck										-Horned	Grebe	-Barrow’s	Goldeneye		-Hooded	Merganser	-Common	Goldeneye		-Pied	Billed	Grebe	-Common	Loon												-Red	Breasted	Merganser	-Feed	on	algae,	insects	and	small	fish	by	diving	beneath	the	surface	of	the	water	Dabbling	Ducks	 -Mallard	Duck	 -Feed	on	algae	at	the	11		-American	Wigeon	 surface,	stick	their	tail	feathers	out	of	the	water	Cormorants	 -Pelagic	Cormorant,	Subspecies	(BC	Red	listed	sub-species)	-Double-breasted	Cormorant	(BC	Blue	listed)	 -Dive	down	to	catch	small	fish	from	deep	water	Gulls	 -Gulls	 -Highly	versatile	scavengers	Aerial	Divers	 -Belted	Kingfisher	 -Swoop	down	from	a	perch	to	catch	prey	Ground	Foragers	 -Canada	Goose	 -Eat	grass	&	other	vegetation	Stalking	Birds	 -Great	Blue	Heron	(BC	Blue	listed)	 -Feed	in	the	intertidal	on	fish	&	small	invertebrates	Table	1.	List	of	relevant	species,	organized	in	their	sub-families	and	some	identifying	characteristics	(Bird	Studies	Canada,	2011).	7.	Methods	7.1	Bird	Species	of	Focus	A	study	published	in	2015	by	Butler	et	al.:	“Status	and	Distribution	of	Marine	Birds	and	Mammals	in	Burrard	Inlet	and	Indian	Arm,	British	Columbia	2011-13”	provides	a	broad	overview	of	which	species	are	present	and	where	they	are	located	in	and	around	the	metro	Vancouver	area.	The	overall	trends	in	the	spatial	distribution	patterns	of	shoreline	bird	population	were	mapped	by	species.	While	Butler	et	al.	(2015)	did	cover	part	False	Creek,	it	was	not	in	a	lot	of	detail.	Observations	were	made	from	a	boat	which	followed	along	the	edges	of	False	Creek,	and	not	a	lot	of	attention	was	placed	on	the	surrounding	urban	environment.	There	was	also	no	account	of	any	disturbances	and	how	these	may	be	affecting	the	presence	and	distribution	of	the	marine	birds.	Our	study	mapped	out	bird	density	in	finer	detail,	as	well	as	made	note	of	any	disturbances	we	observed.	The	Butler	et	al.	study	was	a	useful	resource	for	providing	us	with	a	starting	point	of		the	species	that	we	are	likely	to	see	in	False	Creek.	There	are	several	key	species	that	we	focused	our	efforts	on.	These	species	were	determined	by	looking	through	the	appendix	maps	of	the	Butler	et	al.	study	and	identifying	which	birds	had	habitat	that	overlapped	with	our	False	Creek	study	region.	We	also	observed	several	other	species	not	included	in	the	study.	These	other	species	were	determined	via	communications	with	our	community	partner	and	observations	we	have	made	in	the	field.	Table	2	below	includes	a	list	of	all	bird	species	observed	in	this	study.				12		Species	Common	Name	 Species	Scientific	Name		American	Wigeon		 Anas	americana	Barrow’s	Goldeneye	 Bucephala	islandica	Bufflehead	Duck	 Bucephala	albeola	Belted	Kingfisher	 Megaceryle	alcyon	California	Gull	 Larus	californicus	Canada	Goose	 Branta	canadensis	Common	Goldeneye	 Bucephala	clangula	Common	Loon	 Gavia	immer		Double-Crested	Cormorant		(BC	blue-listed)	 Phalacrocorax	auritus	auritus	Glaucous-Winged	Gull	 Larus	glaucescens	Great	Blue	Heron	(BC	blue-listed)	 Ardea	herodias	fannini	Horned	Grebe	 Podiceps	auritus	Hooded	Merganser	 Lophodytes	cucullatus		Mallard	Duck	 Anas	platyrhynchos	Mew	Gull	 Larus	canus	Pelagic	Cormorant		(BC	red-listed	sub-species)	 Phalacrocorax	pelagicus	Pied-Billed	Grebe	 Podilymbus	podiceps	Red-Breasted	Merganser	 Mergus	serrator	Ring-Billed	Gull	 Larus	delawarensis	Table	2.	Common	and	scientific	names	of	marine	bird	species	observed	in	False	Creek	including	BC	list	designations			13		7.2	Study	area	Birds	are	highly	mobile	animals	and	as	such,	there	is	less	accuracy	in	pinpointing	an	exact	location	of	a	sighting.	Therefore,	for	our	methods,	we	divided	False	Creek	into	five	separate	ecoregions:	1) Urban	Shorefront	[U]:	This	includes	any	land	that	is	not	directly	influenced	by	the	ocean	but	is	near	to	the	shore.	Examples	are	parks,	sidewalks,	trees,	and	buildings	within	sight	of	the	observation	points.		2) Docks	[D]:	This	includes	any	manmade	structure	floating	in	the	water	and	the	watercraft	anchored	to	the	structure	but	not	the	water	between	the	boats	or	in	the	marinas.	3) Shoreline	[S]:	This	is	beachfront,	sand,	or	gravel	that	is	in	direct	contact	with	the	ocean.	4) Nearshore	[N]:	This	is	the	region	within	approximately	30	m	to	the	shoreline	that	tends	to	be	more	sheltered	and	isolated	from	boat	traffic	and	shoreline	disturbances.	5) Offshore	[O]:	This	is	the	region	in	the	center	of	False	Creek	in	the	open	water	farthest	away	from	the	shore.	Bird	sightings	were	recorded	by	observation	point	and	ecoregion	to	give	a	generalized	location	as	opposed	to	individual	points.	Sample	ecoregions	are	shown	below	(Figure	6).			Figure	6.	Example	ecoregions	and	base	grid	of	observation	zones	divided	by	habitat	type.		7.3	Data	collection	This	study	was	a	baseline	monitoring	project	as	there	has	yet	to	be	a	detailed	project	of	this	nature	done	in	for	the	False	Creek	region.	The	focus	of	our	observations	was	on	which	marine	bird	species	are	present,	and	where	they	are	located	throughout	False	Creek.	We	made	observations	on	specific	bird	behaviours	by	recording	the	actions	of	the	birds	when	we	see	them.	Examples	of	behaviour	include	swimming,	flying,	diving,	sleeping,	sitting	on	dock/boat/structure,	and	eating.	We	also	made	observations	about	any	anthropogenic	disturbances	to	marine	birds	that	we	saw	while	counting	the	birds	such	as	off	leash	dogs,	human	interactions	and	boats.		We	had	six	field	data	collection	sessions,	three	in	the	morning	and	three	in	the	afternoon	as	well	as	a	pilot	session	in	order	to	explore	the	False	Creek	region	in	person,	as	well	as	test	our	method	and	calibrate	our	observations	as	a	team	(Figure	7).		We	accumulated	three	sessions	(two	mornings	and	one	afternoon)	of	good	data	collection	in	November	and	three	sessions	(one	morning	and	two	afternoons)	in	January	and	February.	14			Figure	7.	Timeline	of	project	including	field	session	dates		 The	morning	data	collection	began	around	07:00-08:00,	depending	on	the	timing	of	sunrise,	and	ended	before	12:00	to	catch	early	morning	activity	when	disturbances	are	at	a	minimum.	Afternoon	sessions	occurred	between	13:00-16:00	to	encapsulate	more	midday	activities,	construction	sites	and	observe	the	effects	of	a	busier	seawall	and	more	activity	from	boats	and	ferries.	After	a	preliminary	data	analysis	comparing	observations	between	morning	and	afternoon	sessions,	we	decided	to	compile	all	the	data	together	after	analyzing	bird	observations	made	in	the	morning	and	afternoon,	which	showed	bird	observations	in	morning	were	47.6%	while	afternoon	observations	were	at	52.4%.	Since	observations	made	at	different	times	of	the	day	were	not	sufficiently	different	to	justify	separate	analyses,	all	the	observations	were	grouped	together.			7.4	Counting	method	False	Creek	is	a	large	area	to	survey	therefore	it	was	important	we	selected	the	proper	method	to	cover	it	as	best	as	possible	with	the	limited	resources	that	we	had.	Our	counting	method	involved	us	breaking	up	the	study	the	area	using	point	counts	scattered	along	the	shoreline	and	recording	observations	at	each	point	on	a	datasheet.	An	example	of	the	datasheet	we	created	and	used	in	the	field	can	be	found	in	the	appendix.	We	divided	False	Creek	into	four	approximately	equal	sized	regions,	designated	areas	A,	B,	C,	and	D	(Figure	8).	Within	each	of	these	areas,	we	identified	20	observation	sites	that	are	evenly	spread	throughout	each	area.	The	sites	are	labeled	1-20	and	are	sequential	along	a	route	that	begins	on	one	side	of	the	area	and	ends	on	the	other.	The	routes	are	described	in	more	detail	in	the	following	section.	Because	the	distance	between	observation	points	was	less	than	10	minutes	of	walking	time,	an	average	of	five	minutes	of	observation	time	at	each	site	was	considered	adequate	(Ralph	et	al.	1995).	Using	this	method,	each	region	was	covered	in	approximately	two	hours.	When	time	allowed,	we	repeated	our	observations	later	in	the	day	to	generate	one	set	of	data	in	the	morning	and	one	in	the	afternoon.	When	there	was	insufficient	time,	only	one	round	of	observations	were	made,	either	in	the	morning	or	afternoon,	depending	on	our	availability.			15			Figure	8.	Counting	areas	A,	B,	C,	and	D	in	False	Creek.		 To	negate	bias	in	our	overall	counts,	we	created	a	rotation	system	so	that	a	different	researcher	would	make	observations	in	a	different	counting	area	in	each	session.	We	also	performed	a	calibration	analysis	during	our	pilot	field	session	where	we	counted	birds	separately	in	the	same	location	and	compared	our	results	to	ensure	accuracy	(Table	2).	7.5	Observation	points	Figure	9	shows	the	assigned	observation	points	within	each	of	the	counting	areas.	They	are	evenly	distributed	throughout	the	area	and	have	been	selected	to	be	good	vantage	points	for	observing	the	surrounding	area.	Each	point	is	associated	with	a	landmark	that	is	easy	to	locate	while	in	the	field.	Starting	in	Area	A,	we	moved	from	point	to	point	in	a	clockwise	direction	around	False	Creek.	Each	observer	had	a	detailed	copy	of	the	map	to	use	as	a	guide	in	the	field	to	ensure	that	the	observation	points	occurred	in	the	same	location	each	time.	16				Figure	9.	Distribution	of	observation	points	where	data	was	collected	within	each	area	(A,B,C,D).	These	are	the	routes	walked	in	each	of	our	field	survey	days.	7.6	Observation	zones	created	in	GIS	Figure	10	shows	the	observation	zones	that	were	created	using	the	observation	points.	The	observation	points	were	used	as	reference	points	and	polygons	were	created	using	the	midpoint	between	the	observation	points.	Each	polygon	was	then	separated	into	the	habitat	zones	(urban	shore,	docks,	shoreline,	near	shore,	and	offshore).	The	polygons	were	then	divided	according	to	the	observed	line	of	sight	at	each	observation	point	based	on	human	judgment	obtained	in	the	field.	Zones	created	in	the	habitats	offshore	and	nearshore	were	merged	together	in	order	to	accommodate	for	unusual	shape	of	False	Creek.			17		Figure	10.	Grid	of	observation	zones	created	from	the	observation	points.	7.7	Data	analysis	in	Excel		After	each	field	day,	team	members	input	their	data	into	a	shared	spreadsheet	file.	This	data	was	then	sorted	into	separate	sheets	for	each	field	day	session.	These	spreadsheets	were	used	for	making	separate	spreadsheets	for	(1)	the	total	number	of	observations	for	each	species	at	each	observation	zone	and	the	habitat	preferences	for	each	species	and	(2)	the	total	amount	of	disturbances	as	well	as	the	habitat	types	that	the	disturbances	were	recorded	in.	(1)	The	number	of	individuals	seen	in	each	observational	zone	(site	and	habitat	type)	on	each	of	the	field	day	sections	was	then	recorded	in	a	separate	sheet	for	each	species.	These	sheets	will	be	used	to	find	the	number	of	total	observations	of	each	species	and	the	habitat	preferences	of	each	species.	(2)	the	data	for	each	field	day	session	was	manually	combed	through	to	find	instances	of	disturbances,	these	instances	were	pulled	and	put	into	another	spreadsheet	that	sorted	disturbances	by	observation	zone,	disturbance	type,	time	of	day	(morning	or	afternoon),	and	the	bird	code	of	the	species	being	impacted.	This	spreadsheet	was	then	used	to	create	tables	and	graphs	of	the	total	number	of	disturbances,	the	types	of	disturbances,	and	the	observation	zones	that	had	the	disturbances	in	ArcGIS.		7.8	Bird	distributions	in	GIS	Bird	distribution	for	each	species	was	displayed	spatially	by	joining	the	sorted	excel	data	to	the	observation	zones.	Bird	species	were	combined	together	based	on	bird	behaviors	and	separated	into	five	groups:	Dabbling	Ducks,	diving	birds,	Gulls,	cormorants	and	rarely	observed	bird	species.	Dabbling	Ducks	include	American	Wigeons	and	Mallard	Ducks.	Diving	birds	include	Bufflehead	Duck,	Barrow's	Goldeneye,	Pied-Billed	Grebe,	Red	Breasted	Merganser,	Common	Loon,	Hooded	Merganser,	Horned	Grebe	and	Common	Goldeneye.	The	two	species	of	cormorants	that	were	observed	in	False	Creek	were,	Pelagic	Cormorants	and	Double-Crested	Cormorants.	The	rarely	observed	species	in	False	Creek	include	the	Belted	Kingfisher	and	the	Great	Blue	Heron.		The	data	was	then	sorted	by	the	total	number	of	bird	observations	within	each	sub-family	for	each	observation	zone.	As	the	different	zones	of	the	grid	are	all	different	sizes,	the	number	of	bird	observations	was	normalized	by	the	area	of	the	grid	piece	it	was	associated	with.	In	this	way	the	density	of	birds	could	be	represented	equally	across	the	entire	area	and	comparisons	could	be	made.		All	observations	made	for	the	various	sub-families	were	compiled	onto	one	map	to	show	the	areas	that	are	used	the	most	frequently	by	marine	birds.	Maps	were	also	generated	for	each	sub-family	separately.	Maps	of	the	distributions	of	each	individual	species	observed	can	be	found	in	the	appendix.	7.9	Disturbances	Disturbances	were	displayed	spatially	using	a	similar	method	to	bird	distributions.	The	sorted	excel	data	was	used	to	spatially	map	disturbance	distribution	according	to	each	observation	zone	and	their	corresponding	habitats.	Disturbances	were	identified	as	either	presence	or	absence	only	and	not	ranked	due	to	intensity.	The	identified	disturbances	include	non-motorized	boat	traffic,	motorized	boat	traffic,	on	leash,	and	off-leash	dogs,	and	direct	human	interactions	(such	as	feeding).				 The	frequency	of	all	observed	disturbances	in	each	observation	zone	was	mapped	using	symbology	that	is	proportional	to	the	number	of	disturbances	observed	in	each	zone.	The	two	most	notable	disturbance	activities	(on-	and	off-leash	dogs	and	boats)	were	mapped	individually	on	a	presence	absence	basis	at	each	observation	zone.		18		8.	Sources	of	Error	8.1	Field	survey:	Observation	error	A	large	part	of	obtaining	the	data	for	the	counting	method	was	subjected	to	variation	in	human	observances.	During	the	trial	for	taking	observations	all	observers	initially	conducted	a	bird	count	in	the	same	location.	This	trial	showed	that	there	was	a	general	consensus	on	the	bird	count	with	a	standard	error	of	2.5-5.5%	depending	the	group	of	birds	observed	(Table	3).	In	large	groups	of	birds	counted	in	small	areas,	such	as	Mallard	Ducks	or	Barrow’s	Goldeneye	in	ponds,	there	was	a	higher	discrepancy	among	the	observers.	There	may	also	have	been	a	certain	amount	of	human	error	between	observers	when	attempting	accurately	identify	the	bird	species.	Another	source	of	human	error	was	visibility.	On	some	instances	there	was	rain	and	snow	which	made	it	more	difficult	to	identify	the	birds.	Bird	behavior	may	also	have	played	a	role	in	error,	since	birds	are	highly	mobile	it	is	possible	for	more	than	one	observer	to	have	counted	a	bird	more	than	once.			Table	3.	Calibration	results	of	observation	errors	between	the	four	observers		8.2	GIS:	Error	in	creating	observation	zones	Making	the	polygons	for	the	observation	zones	generally	consisted	on	using	the	field	survey	as	reference.	Human	judgement	on	visibility	was	used	to	determine	the	areas	for	the	docks	and	near	shore	areas.	Satellite	imagery	from	ArcMAP	was	used	as	a	template	to	create	the	observation	zones.	The	satellite	imagery	was	obtained	for	low	tide	and	the	observation	zones	allocated	based	on	this	information.	However,	not	all	field	days	showed	lowtide	which	may	have	resulted	in	some	error	when	counting	bird	observations	in	the	shoreline.	Also	by	grouping	areas	of	offshore	and	near	shore	areas	together	there	may	have	been	instances	where	the	locations	were	moved	a	lot	further	than	human	line	of	sight.	This	error	is	negligible	due	to	the	mobile	nature	of	birds.	While	the	observation	sites	were	used	in	the	field	survey,	the	counting	method	also	included	recording	bird	observations	while	moving,	this	may	have	resulted	in	some	birds	being	allocated	to	different	observation	zones	when	the	polygons	were	created.	8.3	GIS:	Error	in	spatial	analysis		While	mapping	the	birds	by	species	had	little	to	no	discrepancy	when	combining	the	species	according	to	behaviors,	such	as	diving	birds,	it	caused	the	resulting	spatial	data	to	be	skewed	in	the	direction	with	the	most	amount	of	birds.	This	was	seen	especially	in	the	diving	birds,	where	the	total	number	of	Barrows	Goldeneye	was	much	bigger	than	the	other	bird	species	causing	the	data	to	be	skewed.	Spatial	analysis	of	disturbances	and	rarely	observed	bird	species	was	somewhat	skewed	due	to	sampling	error.	There	were	too	few	observations	in	order	to	draw	accurate	conclusions	for	these	observations.		19		9.	Results		9.1	Observed	bird	distributions	Over	six	field	sessions	from	November	to	February,	3105	marine	birds	were	observed	from	16	species.	These	species	were	grouped	into	sub-families	based	on	their	behaviors.	Their	distributions	throughout	False	Creek	were	mapped	(Figure	11).			Figure	11.	Area-normalized	density	of	all	observed	marine	birds	(excluding	Gulls)	broken	down	by	sub-family	showing	the	proportional	distribution	throughout	False	Creek.		9.1.1	Proportion	of	each	species’	observations	This	study	shows	that	there	are	many	species	of	marine	birds	located	in	False	Creek.	There	were	16	marine	bird	species	seen	over	the	six	field	sessions.	As	shown	in	Figure	12,	the	four	sub-families	made	up	98.1%	of	all	marine	bird	observations.	Gulls	made	up	45.6%	of	all	observations,	Dabbling	Ducks	made	up	24%	of	all	observations,	Diving	Birds	made	up	25.3%	of	the	observations,	and		Cormorants	made	up	3.2%	of	the	observations.	Together,	the	other	species,	including	the	Canada	Goose,	Great	Blue	Heron,	and	the	Belted	Kingfisher	made	up	the	remaining	1.9%	of	all	the	observations.				20				Figure	12.	The	proportion	of	observations	of	each	sub-family	over	six	field	sessions.	The	sub-families	contained	in	Others	include	groups	where	only	one	species	was	observed	and	frequency	of	observations	was	very	low.	9.1.2	Biodiversity	According	to	Figure	13,	 the	nearshore	has	the	highest	biodiversity	of	all	 the	habitat	 types	with	eight	unique	species	observed	 in	 the	habitat.	 In	comparison,	 the	shoreline	habitat	 type	has	 the	 lowest	biodiversity	with	only	three	unique	species	observed	in	the	habitat.				Figure	13.	The	number	of	unique	species	observed	in	each	habitat	over	the	six	field	sessions.				21		9.2	Habitat	Type	Preferences	by	Sub-Families	9.2.1	Cormorants	(Species	of	special	concern)	Many	of	the	Cormorant	observations	were	seen	under	the	Burrard	Bridge	and	were	concentrated	in	the	nearshore	and	urban	shorefront	habitat	type	(Figure	14).	However,	overall,	most	observations	of	Cormorants	took	place	in	the	offshore	habitat	type	with	38.4%	of	all	Cormorant	observations	taking	place	there	(Figure	15).		Figure	14.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Cormorants	(Double-	crested	and	Pelagic)	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	15.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Cormorants	(Double-Crested	and	Pelagic)	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.			9.2.2	Dabbling	Ducks	Dabbling	Ducks	follow	the	general	spatial	pattern	for	most	birds	in	False	Creek.	The	largest	number	of	Dabbling	Duck	observations	were	made	in	the	freshwater	ponds	in	the	urban	shorefront	22		habitat	type	near	Granville	Island	(Figure	16).		Over	70%	of	the	total	observations	of	the	group	were	found	in	the	urban	shorefront	and	nearshore	habitat	types	(Figure	17).		Figure	16.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Dabbling	Ducks	(American	Wigeon	and	Mallard	duck)	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.			Figure	17.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Dabbling	Ducks	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.		9.2.3	Diving	Birds	The	general	spatial	patterns	for	diving	birds	show	that	most	observations	were	made	in	the	near	shore	and	offshore	habitat	types.	The	largest	density	of	Diving	Birds	took	place	near	Granville	Street	Bridge	in	the	northwest	region	of	False	Creek	(Figure	18).	The	largest	amount	of	diving	bird	were	observed	in	the	nearshore	habitat	type	in	the	small	gaps	between	boats	in	the	many	marinas	found	in	False	Creek.	73.2%	of	all	the	observations	of	diving	birds	took	place	in	the	nearshore	habitat	type	(Figure	19).		23				Figure	18.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Diving	birds	(Bufflehead	Duck,	Barrow's	Goldeneye,	Pied	Billed	Grebe,	Red	Breasted	Merganser,	Common	Loon,	Hooded	Merganser,	Horned	Grebe	and	Common	Goldeneye)	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.			Figure	19.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Diving	Birds	(Bufflehead,	Barrow’s	Goldeneye,	Pied-Billed	Grebe,	Red-Breasted	Merganser,	Common	Loon,	Horned	Grebe,	and	Common	Goldeneye)	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.		9.2.4	Gulls	Gull	distribution	is	spread	evenly	across	False	Creek,	with	the	most	observations	taking	place	on	Granville	Island	(Figure	20).	The	spatial	pattern	for	Gull	distribution	is	concentrated	in	the	urban	shorefront	habitat	type,	with	49.9%	of	the	total	Gull	observations	made	here	(Figure	21).	24			Figure	20.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Gulls	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.			Figure	21.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Gulls	(Glaucous-Winged,	Ring-Billed,	California,	and	Mew)	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.		9.3	Distribution	of	other	species	observed	There	were	few	sightings	of	species	in	the	Other	category.	Canadian	Geese	were	most	frequently	found	near	Granville	Island,	Great	Blue	Herons	were	most	often	seen	near	the	north	side	of	the	Granville	Street	Bridge	and	Granville	Island	and	Belted	Kingfishers	were	commonly	seen	in	marinas	(Figure	22).				25			Figure	22.	Spatial	distributions	of	Great	Blue	Heron,	Belted	Kingfisher	and	Canada	Goose	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.	Due	to	the	low	numbers	of	observations,	these	species	are	mapped	by	numbers	of	birds	observed	rather	than	by	density.		9.3.1	Canada	Goose	Canadian	Geese	were	not	seen	as	frequently	as	some	of	the	other	groupings.	The	most	observations	of	Canada	Geese	were	made	in	the	urban	shoreline	near	freshwater	ponds	on	the	southwest	side	of	Granville	Island.	Canada	Geese	were	observed	in	the	urban	shorefront	61.9%	of	the	time	(Figure	23).				Figure	23.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Canada	Goose	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Canadian	Geese	were	not	seen	in	shoreline	and	nearshore	habitat	types	which	were	not	included	in	this	Figure.		26		9.3.2	Great	Blue	Heron	(Species	of	special	concern)		Great	Blue	Herons	were	not	seen	frequently.	Great	Blue	Herons	were	most	often	in	the	western	corner	of	False	Creek,	particularly	near	Granville	Island	and	the	Granville	Street	Bridge.	Based	on	field	survey	observations,	most	of	these	birds	were	observed	in	the	dock	habitat	type	with	58.8%	of	the	total	observations	made	there	(Figure	24).				Figure	24.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Great	Blue	Heron	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Offshore,	nearshore,	and	shoreline	are	not	included	in	the	graph	because	there	were	no	observations	in	those	habitat	types.			9.3.3	Belted	Kingfisher	The	observed	distribution	of	the	Belted	Kingfisher	was	very	limited.	Belted	Kingfishers	were	only	seen	in	marina	areas,	with	66.7%	of	all	observations	were	in	the	dock	habitat	type	(Figure	25).		Figure	25.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Belted	Kingfisher	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Offshore,	urban	shorefront,	and	shoreline	are	not	included	in	the	graph	because	there	were	no	observations	in	those	habitat	types.	27		9.4	Disturbances	9.4.1	Density	of	all	anthropogenic	disturbances	In	total,	67	instances	of	anthropogenic	disturbances	were	observed	over	our	six	field	sessions	(Table	4).	The	most	often	observed	anthropogenic	disturbance	was	off-leash	dogs,	with	22	separate	observations.	Areas	with	the	highest	densities	of	anthropogenic	disturbances	are	Granville	Island	and	the	David	Lam	Park	(Figure	26).			Table	4.	The	frequencies	of	observed	disturbances	to	marine	birds	over	the	6	field	sessions.	All	disturbances	elicited	a	reaction	from	the	birds	that	was	visually	or	audibly	noticeable,	such	as	flying	away,	flapping	their	wings,	or	squawking.		28			Figure	26.	The	distribution	of	total	marine	bird	disturbances.	(Aquabus,	Ferry	Yachts	&	motorboats,	Canoe,	Total	motorized	boats,	Rowers,	Paddle	boards,	Dragonboats,	Kayaks,	Sailboat,	Total	non-motorized	boats,	Direct	human	interactions	(being	fed,	chased	or	abused),	Drones,	Noise,	Off-leash	dogs	and	On-leash	dogs)	over	6	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		9.4.2	Disturbances	due	to	dogs	(Both	off-leash	and	on-leash)	Off-leash	dogs	were	frequently	seen	in	parks,	both	off-leash	areas	and	on-leash.	There	were	also	off-leash	dogs	observed	in	the	northeast	corner	of	Granville	Island	(Figure	27).			29		Figure	27.	The	distribution	of	marine	bird	disturbances	due	to	dogs	(both	on-leash	and	off-leash)	over	six		field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.	Observations	were	recorded	on	a	presence/absence	basis	only.		9.4.3	Disturbances	due	to	boats	(Both	motorized	and	non-motorized)	The	most	frequent	boat	disturbances	took	place	in	the	offshore	habitat	type	on	either	side	of	the	Cambie	Street	Bridge	(Figure	28).	There	were	also	boat	disturbances	in	the	nearshore	habitat	type	in	marinas.			Figure	28.	The	distribution	of	marine	bird	disturbances	due	to	boats	(both	motorized	and	non-motorized)	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.	Observations	were	recorded	on	a	presence/absence	basis	only.	10.	Discussion	10.1	Discussion	on	bird	distributions	10.1.1	Cormorants	The	results	from	Figure	14	show	that	there	were	two	locations	with	high	Cormorant	observations.	The	first	location	was	under	the	Burrard	Bridge.	This	may	be	due	to	nesting	sites	that	were	observed	built	into	the	bridge	structure.	The	other	location	was	found	in	Area	A	(Figure	8).	This	is	due	to	the	man-made	structure,	which	the	Cormorants	were	frequently	seen	perched	on	during	the	field	survey	(Figure	29).	Cormorants	are	habitat	generalists	and	are	found	in	the	nearshore	and	inland	aquatic	area	(Mercer	et.al,	2013).	This	is	shown	in	Figures	14	and	15,	where	the	highest	frequency	of	Cormorants	were	observed	in	the	offshore	area	of	False	Creek.		In	British	Columbia,	Cormorants	are	classified	as	breeding-	aquatic	birds	that	commonly	feed	on	benthic	and	mid-water	schooling	fish	(Chatwin	et	al.,	2002).	Since	the	offshore	area	provides	deep	enough	water	to	accommodate	mid-water	feeding	fish,	this	habitat	provides	the	ideal	feeding	grounds	for	Cormorants.	Pelagic	Cormorants	are	30		listed	as	Red	status	(candidate	for	Extirpated,	Endangered,	or	Threatened	status	in	British	Columbia)	and	Double	crested	Cormorants	are	listed	as	Blue	status	(candidate	for	special	Concern	in	British	Columbia)	in	the	BC	list.				Figure	29.	Cormorants	perched	on	man-made	structure	drying	their	wings	in	Area	A.		10.1.2	Dabbling	Ducks	Figure	17	shows	that	the	nearshore	and	urban	shore	habitats	had	the	highest	frequency	of	Dabbling	Ducks.	Dabbling	Ducks	are	generally	surface	feeders	that	feed	from	the	surface	or	feed	from	shallow	water	by	tipping	forwards	and	submerging	their	necks.	They	generally	feed	on	seagrass	or	brown	algae	(fucus)	(Baldwin	et.	al,	1994).	As	shown	in	Figure	32	the	nearshore	habitat	is	abundant	in	fucus	along	the	seawall	which	makes	it	a	suitable	feeding	ground	for	Dabbling	Ducks.	The	highest	observations	of	Dabbling	Ducks	were	made	in	the	urban	shorefront	habitat	in	Area	D.	This	may	also	be	due	to	the	two	freshwater	man-made	ponds	that	are	located	in	the	urban	housing	complex.	During	field	sessions	in	November,	we	noticed	Dabbling	Ducks,	especially	American	Wigeons,	were	attracted	to	the	pond	in	Charleston	Park.	However,	in	January	and	February,	this	pond	was	often	frozen	and	therefore	many	of	these	birds	had	migrated	to	the	urban	ponds	in	Area	D.	Figure	30	shows	that	the	pond	in	Charleston	Park	was	a	better	feeding	site	due	to	abundant	algae	and	insects	compared	to	Figure	31	which	shows	the	urban	freshwater	ponds.	The	urban	ponds	allowed	the	Dabbling	Ducks	to	have	access	to	freshwater	for	drinking	and	bathing	when	the	pond	located	at	Charleston	Park	was	frozen.				31			Figure	30.	Freshwater	pond	in	Charleston	Park													Figure	31.	Freshwater	pond	in	urban	housing	complex			Figure	32.	Nearshore	habitat	in	Area	C	with	seawall	pavers	covered	in	fucus.	The	closer	section	was	a	more	recent	addition	compared	to	the	boulders	further	down	the	seawall.			10.1.3	Diving	Birds	Figure	19	shows	that	Diving	Birds	are	mostly	observed	in	the	nearshore	habitat.	False	Creek	has	high	intertidal	mixing	and	surface	waters	with	high	salinity	(Department	of	Fisheries	and	Oceans).	Tidal	mixing	increases	primary	production	and	nutrient	enrichment	(Pingree	et	al.	1974),which	results	in	an	increase	in	primary	consumers,	such	as	saltwater	insects	and	fish.	Due	to	high	tidal	mixing	and	shallow	32		waters,	there	is	an	abundance	of	primary	production	along	the	seawall,	as	seen	in	Figure	32.	Small	Grebe	species	are	generally	plankton	feeders,	while	Mergansers,	Loons	and	Barrow's	Goldeneye	are	piscivores,	carnivorous	animals	which	eat	primarily	fish	(	Holm	et	al.	2002).	Figure	32	shows	that	the	nearshore	habitat	is	abundant	in	fucus	and	green	algae,	which	serve	as	a	great	feeding	ground	for	Diving	Birds.	Figure	18	shows	that	most	Diving	Birds	are	found	near	docks.	During	the	field	survey,	Diving	Birds	were	seen	diving	under	and	swimming	between	docks.	The	docks	provide	shelter	from	wind	and	rain	which	provides	the	diving	birds	with	a	resting	area.	Docking	areas	also	have	slightly	deeper	water,	which	serves	as	a	habitat	for	small	fish,	a	significant	dietary	requirement	for	Diving	Birds.	The	high	density	of	Diving	Birds	observed	near	docks	is	also	due	to	the	fact	that	most	Diving	Birds,	such	as	Barrow's	Goldeneye,	dive	in	flocks.		10.1.4	Gulls	Gulls	were	the	species	most	frequently	observed	during	this	study.	The	four	species:	California	Gull,	Glaucous-Winged	Gull,	Mew	Gull,	and	Ring-Billed	Gull	were	difficult	to	distinguish	at	a	distance,	particularly	when	they	were	seen	floating	out	in	the	offshore	areas.	In	order	to	remain	consistent	with	our	density	mapping,	we	decided	to	lump	all	four	Gull	species	into	one	group.	The	distribution	of	the	Gulls	is	mapped	in	Figure	20.	As	can	be	seen	in	the	distribution	map,	the	Gulls	are	found	in	nearly	every	part	of	False	Creek	and	there	doesn't	appear	to	be	a	strong	pattern.	We	did	notice	that	there	were	slightly	higher	concentrations	around	Granville	Island,	particularly	in	the	northeast	corner	as	this	was	where	we	saw	them	being	fed	or	stealing	food	from	humans	the	most	often.	When	the	observations	are	divided	by	habitat	type,	we	found	that	nearly	half	of	the	Gull	sightings	(49.9%)	were	made	in	the	urban	shorefront	(Figure	21).	Many	Gulls	use	urban	areas	such	as	parking	lots	and	buildings	for	resting	areas.	Gulls	seem	to	be	very	well	integrated	into	the	urban	environment	and	even	seem	to	benefit	from	the	presence	of	humans.	As	generalist	feeders,	they	are	highly	adaptable	birds	and	are	able	to	efficiently	feed	in	all	different	kinds	of	habitat	types.	They	will	eat	fish	and	marine	invertebrates	found	along	the	shoreline	and	in	the	nearshore	areas,	algae	from	freshwater	ponds,	as	well	as	garbage	and	human	food	from	urban	areas.	This	would	explain	why	they	thrive	in	places	such	as	Granville	island	where	there	is	a	high	density	of	humans	and	human	food.		10.1.5	Other	species	Within	the	other	species	category,	we	included	the	Canada	Goose,	the	Belted	Kingfisher	and	the	Great	Blue	Heron.	None	of	the	species	were	observed	frequently	enough	to	make	any	conclusions	about	their	distributions	in	False	Creek.		The	Great	Blue	heron	has	Blue	status	in	the	BC	Species	list	(candidate	for	special	Concern	in	British	Columbia).	Nesting	areas	in	Stanley	Park	have	been	recorded	since	the	1920’s	(Butler	et.	al).	They	are	stalking	birds	and	feed	on	small	fish	caught	in	shallow	waters	(Committee	on	the	status	of	endangered	wildlife	in	Canada,	2017).	Areas	near	marinas	are	ideal	for	Herons	because	the	waters	are	fairly	shallow.	In	addition,	the	docks	that	they	were	most	often	observed	at	may	give	them	a	vantage	point	to	see	into	the	shallow	waters	and	provide	them	with	places	to	rest	on	high	ground	(Figure	22).		Since	this	survey	was	conducted	in	the	winter,	most	observations	of	Canada	Geese	were	in	the	early	November	before	they	migrated.	There	were	no	observations	of	Canada	Geese	after	January,	likely	due	to	their	migratory	behaviour.	Canada	Geese	graze	on	grass	and	other	terrestrial	vegetation	33		(Mowbray,	Ely,	Sedinger,	&	Trost,	2002).	Our	observations	line	up	with	these	feeding	behaviors	as	most	of	our	observations	took	place	in	the	urban	shorefront	habitat	type.		Belted	Kingfisher	were	only	seen	three	times,	however	their	habitat	preferences	also	line	up	with	their	feeding	behaviors.	Because	Belted	Kingfishers	swoop	down	on	their	prey,	docks	provide	them	with	a	high	vantage	point	to	stalk	their	prey	before	swooping	(Hamas,	2009).		10.1.6	General	Remarks		 Figure	11	shows	that	most	bird	densities	are	located	in	the	nearshore	habitat.	This	is	observed	again	in	Figure	13,	which	shows	that	the	most	number	of	species	were	observed	in	the	nearshore	habitat.	As	explained	in	the	sections	above,	this	is	mostly	due	to	the	abundance	of	primary	production	located	in	the	nearshore	habitat.	As	mentioned	in	the	Diving	Bird	section,	strong	intertidal	mixing	increases	nutrient	enrichment	which	attracts	small	fish	and	insects	resulting	in	an	increase	in	piscivores	(Department	of	Fisheries	and	Oceans).	Certain	areas	along	the	nearshore	habitat	had	an	increase	in	algae	production.	As	shown	in	Figure	32,	certain	areas	along	the	seawall	contained	smooth	flat	pavers	which	seemed	to	encourage	algae	growth.			 Figure	11	shows	that	the	area	with	the	lowest	bird	observations	is	east	False	Creek.	Figure	26	shows	that	this	area	also	has	fewer	disturbances.	Since	birds	are	an	indicator	species	for	ecosystem	health,	a	decrease	in	marine	birds	in	this	area	may	be	due	to	poor	water	quality.	The	Metro	Vancouver	Beach	Water	Quality	report	discloses	that	the	mean	geometric	average	of	E-coli	bacteria	for	100ml	of	water	is	163	for	east	False	Creek	(Vancouver	Coastal	Health).	This	is	the	highest	amount	of	E-coli	found	in	the	metro	Vancouver	area.	A	report	conducted	by	the	ministry	of	environment	shows	that	east	False	Creek	is	still	acceptable	for	secondary	recreational	activities,	such	as	canoeing	or	sailing	but	primary	human	activities	are	not	encouraged	(Ministry	of	Environment,	2006).	The	comparatively	poor	water	quality	may	be	a	factor	in	why	so	few	birds	are	seen	here.		10.2	Discussion	on	disturbances	Throughout	our	field	surveys,	we	observed	many	different	types	of	disturbances	that	affected	the	marine	birds	in	the	region.	Disturbances	that	we	noted	were	both	active	(eg.	a	boat	causing	a	bird	to	panic	and	fly	away)	and	passive	(eg.	a	region	with	excessive	noise).	Disturbances	included	both	off-leash	and	on-leash	dogs,	human	interactions	(eg.	via	feeding),	motorized	and	non-motorized	boating,	excessive	noise,	other	birds,	and	in	one	instance,	a	drone.		In	the	first	map	(Figure	26),	we	looked	at	the	density	of	all	disturbances	lumped	together.	The	highest	concentration	of	disturbances	occurred	on	the	northwest	tip	of	Granville	Island;	this	coincides	with	an	outdoor	seating	area	outside	of	the	main	food	court	and	is	very	popular	for	tourists.	There	were	many	Gulls	focussed	in	this	area	and	lots	of	feeding	of	the	birds	by	humans.	It	is	also	the	site	of	an	aquabus	dock.	Other	areas	of	high	disturbances	coincided	with	city	parks	and	the	open	grassy	regions	found	there,	mostly	due	to	the	presences	of	high	numbers	of	both	off-leash	and	on-leash	dogs,	and	the	offshore	areas	due	to	the	aquabus	routes	and	other	boat	traffic.	Excessive	noise	was	determined	according	to	deviations	from	normal	background	levels	that	could	be	noticed	without	specialized	sound	monitoring	equipment.	Because	this	study	occurred	over	the	winter,	we	expect	our	disturbance	results	to	be	seasonally	confined	to	winter	months.	In	the	summer	months,	recreational	use	will	probably	be	much	higher,	increasing	the	probability	of	dog-bird,	boat-bird	and	human-bird	interactions	and	changing	the	proportion	of	each	occurrence.	34			10.2.1	Dogs	Disturbances	due	to	dogs	were	of	particular	interest	to	us	throughout	the	study	as	this	is	an	issue	that	the	City	of	Vancouver	is	currently	examining.	In	total,	we	recorded	27	instances	of	disturbance	of	birds	due	to	dogs	with	only	five	of	these	being	when	the	dogs	were	on-leash	and	the	other	22	being	when	the	dogs	were	off-leash.	Our	results	seem	to	signify	that	dogs	tend	to	disturb	birds,	however	they	are	less	disruptive	when	kept	more	in	control	and	on-leash.	The	bird	species	that	were	most	affected	by	dogs	were	the	Dabbling	Ducks	such	as	Mallards	and	American	Wigeon,	as	well	as	some	of	the	Diving	Birds	that	spend	more	time	closer	to	shore	such	as	the	Bufflehead	Duck	and	Barrow’s	Goldeneye.		On	the	map	(Figure	27),	it	can	be	seen	that	off-leash	dog	disturbances	were	observed	in	nearly	every	public	park	along	the	waterfront,	despite	the	fact	that	these	are	nearly	all	on-leash	parks	only	with	clear	signage.	Charleson	Park,	on	the	southern	edge	of	False	Creek	is	a	designated	off-leash	area,	however	it	is	adjacent	to	a	large	freshwater	pond	which	we	found	was	frequented	by	Dabbling	Ducks	and	Gulls.	While	disturbances	were	indeed	observed,	birds	still	made	use	of	the	pond	in	high	numbers.			10.2.2	Boats	False	Creek	is	a	very	active	waterway	for	both	motorized	and	non-motorized	boat	traffic	of	various	forms.	The	most	abundant	boat	disturbance	observed	were	Aqua	Buses	which	operate	on	set	routes	throughout	the	channel.	We	also	observed	disturbances	due	to	personal	crafts	such	as	sailboats,	canoes,	kayaks,	dragonboats,	and	rowers.	Dragonboat	and	rower	traffic	was	mostly	seen	in	the	morning	and	may	be	more	of	a	disturbance	to	birds	due	to	their	use	of	loudspeakers.	Based	on	the	spatial	distribution	on	the	map	(Figure	28),	boat	disturbances	seem	to	be	more	prevalent	in	areas	where	the	channel	narrows,	which	would	make	sense	as	there	is	less	space	for	the	boat	traffic	and	the	birds	to	maneuver	around	each	other.	Bird	species	that	were	affected	the	most	by	boats	include	both	the	Pelagic	and	the	Double-crested	Cormorants,	which	spend	time	feeding	out	in	the	center	of	the	channel,	as	well	as	the	Diving	Birds	such	as	the	Bufflehead	Duck	and	Barrow’s	Goldeneye.		10.2.3	Weather	 	On	one	of	our	field	visits	(February	5th)	we	experienced	unusually	cold	weather	with	lots	of	snow	and	many	of	the	ponds	were	partially	or	completely	frozen	over.	The	frozen	ponds	did	not	have	any	birds	observed.	The	birds	may	have	been	concentrated	in	the	areas	where	the	water	was	not	frozen	or	temporarily	moved	outside	of	our	study	area.	We	are	aware	that	this	may	have	slightly	altered	our	results.		11.	Citizen	science	The	City	of	Vancouver	is	interested	in	sharing	the	results	of	our	study	with	the	public	in	a	meaningful	way.	Not	only	is	information	regarding	the	densities	and	distributions	of	marine	birds	in	False	Creek	useful	for	informing	development	changes	to	land	use,	but	it	can	also	be	used	to	substantiate	educational	activities	that	teach	citizens	about	marine	bird	biodiversity	in	Vancouver	and	how	urban	areas	function	as	habitat	to	wildlife.	These	activities	will	also	teach	the	public	rudimentary	scientific	skills,	such	as	data	collection	and	making	accurate	observations.	Data	submitted	by	citizens	can	be	collected	by	the	City	of	Vancouver	and	compiled	into	a	long-term	database	if	they	wish	to	continue	35		monitoring	marine	birds	in	False	Creek.	While	analyzing	citizen-reported	data	is	outside	of	the	scope	of	our	study,	we	hope	that	the	graphics	we	generate	will	help	to	increase	public	awareness	of	birds	in	the	area	and	encourage	citizens	to	report	more	sightings.	Perhaps	the	City	of	Vancouver	will	undertake	a	project	focused	more	on	analysis	of	citizen	science	data	in	the	future	if	they	wish	to	implement	long-term	data	collection.					11.1	Bird	Bingo	As	a	way	to	get	the	public	more	engaged	with	the	marine	birds	in	False	Creek,	we	have	designed	a	bird	bingo	template	that	includes	the	top	10	species	observed	and	common	bird	behaviours.	It	will	encourage	users	to	walk	around	False	Creek	and	notice	marine	birds	where	they	previously	would	have	ignored	or	missed	their	presence.	It	will	also	teach	users	some	rudimentary	bird	identification	skills	and	facts	about	some	species.		Front	side:		36			Back	side:		11.2	Informative	signs	Another	key	part	of	our	public	engagement	plan	is	the	creation	of	signposts	based	on	the	results	of	our	study.	False	Creek	is	a	tourist	hotspot	all	year	round.	Many	people	walk	along	the	sea	wall	in	close	proximity	to	the	marine	birds	in	False	Creek	and	don’t	know	which	species	are	there.	We	are	proposing	that	the	City	of	Vancouver	place	some	interpretive	signs	in	some	high-traffic	areas	that	are	also	habitat	“hotspots”	for	some	of	the	more	popular	marine	birds	we	saw	during	our	study.		Each	signpost	includes	pictures	of	the	bird,	key	identification	points,	one	of	our	density	distribution	maps,	and	a	link	to	the	online	database	“ebird”	where	citizens	can	log	any	observations	they	make.	There	is	an	example	signpost	for	Cormorants	included	on	the	following	page:		WELCOME TO FALSE CREEK MARINE BIRD BINGO!	Contained on this Bingo card are ten species of marine birds you are likely to see on any visit to False Creek as well as common bird behaviours. Not a seasoned bird watcher? No problem! Bird identification is easier than you think and with a few tips and a little practice, you'll be an expert in no time.	BIRD IDENTIFICATION 101:	1. Dabbling duck: A sub-family of ducks that stick their butt up in the air when they are feeding from the surface layer. wigeons and Mallards are examples of dabblers.	2. Great blue heron: Blue-grey feathers, a long, sharp beak and shaggy plumage. Usually found standing still next to the shoreline or sleeping on docks, posts or on boats.	3. Canada goose: Black head with a white chin strap and have brown, tan and white body feathers. Usually found in parks, near ponds, or swimming next to shore.	4. Pelagic cormorant: Dark and glossy feathers, long, slender neck, and a hooked bill. Usually found diving in the middle of the inlet or drying off on posts and docks.	5. Diving ducks: A sub-family of ducks that dive down to the bottom to feed. Goldeneyes and Buffleheads are examples of divers.	6. American wigeon: Males are brown with a bright green patch on their face, females are grey on top and brown beneath. Usually found in ponds or swimming close to shore.	7. Barrow’s goldeneye: Males are mostly white with a black head and a white crescent beneath their eye. Females have a brown head, orange bill and grey body. Found in ponds, swimming in docks, and sometimes in flocks of 50+ birds.	8. Male mallard duck: Bright green head, white ring on neck and a grey and brown body with orange feet. Found in ponds, parks and close to shore.	9. Bufflehead duck: Males have a white body and black head with a big white patch. Females are mostly grey with a darker head and small white patch under the eye. Usually found in ponds and swimming offshore.	10. Goose poop: Greenish-brown found on pathways and in the grass. Watch your step!	11. Hooded merganser: Males have a black head, a mohawk-like crest and a large white patch. Females are mostly grey with a brown fringe. Found near shore.	12. Gulls: White and grey with orange, yellow or black beaks. Found everywhere!	13. Bird sleeping: Characterized by tucking their head under their wings and either float or stand in the shallows.	37			38		12.	Recommendations	1.	Implement	a	marine	bird	based	citizen	science	program	in	False	Creek	False	Creek	provides	residents	of	Vancouver	with	the	unique	opportunity	to	interact	with	nature	without	having	to	leave	the	city	limits.	Because	marine	birds	have	such	an	impressive	presence	in	False	Creek,	are	easily	identifiable	and	charismatic,	they	are	an	excellent	subject	for	citizen	science	programs	targeted	at	increasing	community	exposure	to	urban	wildlife	and	promoting	conservation.	The	findings	from	this	study	can	be	used	as	the	scientific	substance	behind	public	education	programs	and	can	advise	the	content	of	future	activities	as	well	as	the	locations	of	signage	and	information.	Our	two	prototype	activities	serve	as	examples	of	how	our	findings	can	be	presented	to	the	public	in	fun	and	engaging	ways.		2.	Include	bird-friendly	features	in	future	development	projects	An	unexpected	result	from	this	study	is	how	certain	man-made	ecosystem	features	were	observed	to	benefit	marine	birds.	Freshwater	ponds,	marinas	and	statues	were	frequently	observed	being	used	by	resident	marine	birds	and	supplement	their	natural	habitat	by	serving	as	protected	places	to	feed,	rest,	and	dry	off.	Because	few	marine	birds	were	observed	in	the	northeast	corner	of	False	Creek	where	redevelopments	have	been	proposed,	decision	makers	have	the	opportunity	to	advise	redevelopment	projects	to	consider	supplementing	existing	habitats	with	features	that	will	increase	bird	presence	in	the	area.		3.	Perform	future	studies	to	broaden	understanding		 Because	this	study	occurred	over	the	winter,	the	results	are	seasonally	constrained	and	have	limited	influence.	As	such,	similar	studies	should	occur	during	the	other	three	seasons	to	determine	how	marine	bird	species	composition	changes	between	migratory	periods	and	whether	habitat	use	has	a	seasonal	component.	Combining	the	findings	from	each	seasonal	study	will	allow	for	a	better	understanding	of	the	ecology	of	False	Creek	and	more	accurate	ideas	of	habitat	use	by	marine	birds.		 Another	possible	study	could	look	at	how	disturbances	impact	marine	bird	habitat	use	in	False	Creek.	Because	this	was	a	baseline	study,	no	conclusions	can	be	made	about	the	role	of	disturbances	in	determining	the	spatial	distributions	of	species	and	why	some	areas	are	used	more	frequently	than	others.	Methodology	could	include	isolating	an	area	from	disturbances	and	recording	marine	bird	observations	before	and	after	isolation	to	determine	the	causality	between	disturbance	frequency	and	marine	bird	presence.		13.	Summary	Our	study	revealed	that	marine	birds	extensively	use	the	False	Creek	area	and	that	human	actions	can	be	observed	disturbing	their	activities.	In	total,	3105	individuals	from	16	different	species	across	seven	sub-families	of	waterfowl	were	observed	in	False	Creek	over	six	field	sessions	between	November	2016	to	February	2017.	These	species	were	observed	in	a	variety	of	different	habitat	types	according	to	which	areas	suited	their	ecological	niches.	The	maps	illustrating	habitat	use	by	sub-family	show	considerable	variation	between	groups,	which	is	explained	in	literature	by	their	different	eating	habits	and	physiological	traits.	These	visuals	illustrate	how	marine	bird	habitat	use	in	False	Creek	is	extremely	dynamic	and	reveal	which	areas	within	the	ecosystem	are	more	significant	than	others	in	39		regards	to	biodiversity	and	number	of	individuals	found	there.	Precise	observation	numbers	for	each	individual	species	is	contained	in	our	appendix,	along	with	maps	and	charts	about	habitat	preferences.		Anthropogenic	disturbances	to	marine	bids	also	spatially	variable.	Some	areas	were	more	frequently	disturbed	than	others	and	dominant	disturbance	type	changes	depending	where	you	are	around	the	inlet.	Boat	disturbance	was	the	most	intense	in	areas	where	the	channel	narrows	and	human	related	incidents	were	most	common	in	densely	populated	areas	like	Granville	Island.	Off-leash	dogs	were	the	most	commonly	observed	disturbance	overall	and	frequently	occurred	away	from	off-leash	designated	areas.		The	dynamic	marine	bird	populations	observed	in	False	Creek	illustrate	that	the	area	has	a	significant	conservation	role.	The	area	is	important	habitat	for	BC	Red	and	Blue	listed	species,	which	indicates	that	preserving	the	health	of	the	ecosystem	is	necessary	to	promote	the	protection	of	these	threatened	species.	Moving	into	a	future	where	climate	change	has	the	ability	to	alter	the	functioning	of	our	environment,	it’s	integral	that	we	do	what	we	can	right	now	to	reduce	additional	stresses	on	wildlife	and	their	habitats	and	keep	our	spaces	places	they	want	to	call	home.	14.	Acknowledgements		 We	would	like	to	thank	our	community	partners	at	the	City	of	Vancouver-	Angela	Danyluk,	Dana	McDonald,	Jeanie	Morton	and	Nick	Page	as	well	as	Sara	Harris,	our	project	consultant.	Also	thanks	to	Bernado	Ranieri	and	Vikas	Menghwani	for	their	feedback.		 		 	40		15.	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Environmental	Management,	26(2),	207-213		Mercer	DM,	Haig	SM,	Roby	DD.	Phylogeography	and	population	genetic	structure	of	double-crested	cormorants	(Phalacrocorax	auritus).	Conserv	Genet	2013;14(4):	823–36.		42		Melles,	S.	(2005).	Urban	bird	diversity	as	an	indicator	of	human	social	diversity	and	economic	inequality	in	Vancouver,	British	Columbia.	Urban	Habitats,	3(1),	25-48.		Ministry	of	Environment.	(2006).		Assessment	of	Bacteriological	Indicators	in	False	Creek.	Government	of	British	Columbia.	Retrieved	online	on	11	January,	2017.		Ministry	of	Environment.	(2006).	Burrard	Inlet	-	False	Creek,	Water	Quality	Objectives	amendment	review.	Vancouver:	Environmental	Quality	Section.	Retrieved	April	8	2017,	from	http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/water/waterquality/water-quality-objectives/wqo_tech_false_creek_summary.pdf		Mowbray,	T.,	Ely,	C.,	Sedinger,	J.,	&	Trost,	R.	(2002).	Canada	Goose.	Birds	of	North	America	Online.	Retrieved	9	April	2017,	from	https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/cangoo/introduction		Ralph,	C.	John;	Droege,	Sam;	Sauer,	John	R.	(1995).	Managing	and	Monitoring	Birds	Using	Point	Counts:	Standards	and	Applications.	U.S.	Department	of	Agriculture,	Forest	Service,	Pacific	Southwest	Research	Station:	p.	161-168		Schlacher,	T.A.,	Nielsen,	T.,	Weston,	M.A.	(2013).	Human	recreation	alters	behaviour	profiles	of	non-breeding	birds	on	open-coast	sandy	shores.	Estuarine,	Coastal	and	Shelf	Science,	118,	31-42.		Shaw,	E.	L.,	Jr.,	Surry,	D.,	&	Green,	A.	(2015).	The	use	of	social	media	and	citizen	science	to	identify,	track,	and	report	birds.	Social	and	Behavioral	Science,	167,	103-108.		Pingree,	R.	D.,	Forster,	G.	R.,	&	Morrison,	G.	K.	(1974).	Turbulent	convergent	tidal	fronts.	Journal	of	the	Marine	Biological	Association	of	the	United	Kingdom,	54(02),	469-479.		Vancouver	Economic	Commission.	The	Flats	area	profile:	an	overview	of	your	False	Creek	flats.	City	of	Vancouver.	Retrieved	online	on	5	October,	2016.		Vancouver	Coastal	Health.	(n.d.).	Beach	Water	Quality.	Vancouver.	Retrieved	8	April	2017,	from		http://www.vch.ca/Documents/Beach-water-quality-report-metro-Vancouver.pdf		Wiersma,	Y.	F.	(2010).	Birding	2.0:	citizen	science	and	effective	monitoring	in	the	Web	2.0	world.	Avian	Conservation	and	Ecology,	5(2):	13.				43		16.	Appendix	1.	Supporting	Documents	for	Field	Data	Collection				Figure	1.	Distribution	of	observation	points	in	area	A.	The	route	begins	at	the	base	of	the	Burrard	st.	bridge	and	follows	along	the	path	on	the	seawall	on	the	north	shore	of	False	Creek,	ending	at	the	Cambie	st.	bridge.			44		Figure	2.	Distribution	of	observation	points	in	area	B.	The	route	begins	at	the	base	of	the	Cambie	st.	bridge	and	follows	along	the	path	on	the	seawall	on	the	North	shore	of	False	Creek,	then	curving	back	around	by	Science	world	and	finishing	along	the	south	shore	and	Habitat	Island			Figure	3.	Distribution	of	observation	points	in	area	C.	The	route	begins	west	of	Habitat	Island	and	continues	west	along	the	path	on	the	seawall	on	the	South	shore	of	False	Creek	to	the	small	inlet	on	the	southeast	side	of	Granville	Island.			45		Figure	4.	Distribution	of	observation	points	in	area	D.	The	route	begins	at	the	southeast	corner	of	Granville	Island	and	follows	along	the	paths	at	the	edge	of	Granville	Island	where	possible	(going	inland	at	the	cement	plant)	and	rejoining	the	mainland	again	at	the	other	side	to	finish	up	the	south	shore	of	False	Creek	at	the	Burrard	st.	bridge.			Figure	5.	Sample	data	sheet	created	in	excel.	“Bird	behavior”	will	include	basic	observations	about	what	the	bird	is	doing	at	the	time:	eg.	Is	it	resting,	swimming,	feeding	etc.	“Species	code”	refers	to	the	standardized	four-letter	alpha	codes	used	by	ornithologists	for	recording	bird	species	in	the	field.					 	46				2.	All	Birds	Observed	in	the	Study			Figure	6.	The	relative	proportion	of	observations	of	each	species	over	the	six	field	sessions	from	November	to	February.	The	table	contains	the	species	grouped	in	the	“observed	<5	times”	that	were	rarely	seen.		a. American	Wigeon		Figure	7.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	American	Wigeon	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.	47				Figure	8.	The	observed	frequencies	of	American	Wigeons	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.		 	48					b. Barrow’s	Goldeneye			Figure	9.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Barrow’s	Goldeneye	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	10.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Barrow’s	Goldeneye		in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	49					c. Belted	Kingfisher			Figure	11.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Belted	Kingfisher	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	12.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Belted	Kingfisher	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	shoreline,	and	offshore		habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	50					d. Bufflehead	Duck			Figure	13.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Bufflehead	Duck	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	14.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Bufflehead	Ducks	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Shoreline,	offshore,	and	dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	51					e. Canada	Goose				Figure	15.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Canada	Goose	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	16.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Canada	Goose	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Nearshore	and	shoreline	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	52					f. Common	Goldeneye			Figure	17.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Common	Goldeneye	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	18.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Common	Goldeneye		in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	shoreline,	and	offshore	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.			 	53					g. Common	Loon			Figure	19.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Common	Loon	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	20.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Common	Loon	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	shoreline,	and	dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	54					h. Double-Crested	Cormorant			Figure	21.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Double-Crested	Cormorants	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	22.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Double-Crested	Cormorant	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	55					i. Gulls			Figure	23.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Gulls	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	24.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Gulls	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.			 	56					j. Great	Blue	Heron	(Blue-listed/Species	of	special	concern)			Figure	25.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Great	Blue	Herons	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	26.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Great	Blue	Herons	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Shoreline,	nearshore,	and	offshore	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	57					k. Hooded	Merganser				Figure	27.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Hooded	Merganser	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	28.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Hooded	Merganser	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shoreline,	shoreline,	and	dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	58					l. Horned	Grebe			Figure	29.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Horned	Grebe	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	30.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Horned	Grebe	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	shoreline,	and	dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.			 	59					m. Mallard	Duck			Figure	31.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Mallard	Ducks	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	32.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Mallard	Ducks	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	60					n. Pelagic	Cormorant			Figure	33.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Pelagic	Cormorants	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	34.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Pelagic	Cormorant	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	61					o. Pied-Billed	Grebe			Figure	35.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Pied-Billed	Grebe	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	36.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Pied-Billed	Grebe	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	nearshore,	and	offshore	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.				 	62					p. Red-Breasted	Merganser			Figure	37.	The	distribution	of	total	observations	of	Red-Breasted	Merganser	over	six	field	days	mapped	over	habitat	type	for	each	observation	zone.		Figure	38.	The	observed	frequencies	of	Red-Breasted	Merganser	in	the	five	habitat	types	over	the	six	field	sessions.	Urban	shorefront,	shoreline,	and	dock	habitats	have	been	excluded	because	there	were	no	sightings	in	those	locations.					63								a)	Detailed	disturbance	maps			Figure	40.	All	disturbances	mapped	by	type:	Blues	correspond	with	boats,	red/orange	corresponds	with	dogs,	green	corresponds	with	noise,	etc.								

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