UBC Graduate Research

Birds on UBC’s Campus : A Mixed-Method Approach to Prioritize Bird Species and Assess Habitat Needs to Inform Policy & Campus Design Edwards, Emily; Forrest, Dan; Laird, Marika; Zeng, Alina


Human-driven phenomena like land-use change and climate change currently threaten 15% of bird species with extinction, with many more expected to be affected in the coming decades. UBC Vancouver (UBCV) is situated within an area of critical importance to many bird species, the Fraser River Delta. The delta is a prominent stopover on the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route for birds. We find that 121 species of birds have been documented on UBC Vancouver’s campus since 2000. Yet, UBC Vancouver’s campus represents a heavily built environment, and the university plans to continue its rapid development. While the university has made many commitments to bird-friendliness in recent years, this development represents a threat to existing bird populations on campus. For this reason, we sought to provide our clients with recommendations to enhance UBC’s campus to better support ten selected bird species that occur on UBCV’s campus. We developed a novel scoring metric to prioritize birds for habitat enhancements on UBCV’s campus using an iterative, mixed-methods approach. We drew on ecological data (e.g., conservation status, occurrences), a survey of UBC students values regarding bird conservation and habitat restoration, expert opinions, and the practical capabilities and limitations of our clients to make habitat recommendations for our top ten species of high conservation opportunity. The prioritized bird species represent a range of functional types, from primary consumers to insectivores, and habitat recommendations include specific planting recommendations for food and habitat, as well as providing human-mediated shelters (e.g., bird-houses, building modifications), to further support these species on campus. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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