Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Effects of Socioeconomics on European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Abundance in Baltimore, Maryland
Denison, Chandler
Co-Authors: Charles H. Nilon

Abstract: The main objective of this study was to use census track block group variables to develop models predicting European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) abundance. By using starlings as a focal species, we wished to determine what socioeconomic variables best predicted their occurrence and abundance in Baltimore City, Maryland. During May through June 2005 - 2007, birds were counted at 132 bird census points in Baltimore City. Data was gathered from the 2000 U.S. census tract block groups that contained these bird census points. Socioeconomic variables from the census tract block groups were used in a principal components analysis (PCA) to reduce the number of correlated variables into a smaller number of uncorrelated variables. Regression was used to predict the probability of detection for starlings within those census tract block groups. The regression revealed a very complicated relationship between the percent of the block group population that is black, percent with a bachelorís degree or higher, percent of families with female-headed households with children, and the median year the housing unit was built. The probability of detection was highest (25%) for neighborhoods with a higher percentage of black residents who had a bachelorís degree or higher that were living in newer housing. Future research can apply this principle to other avian species and thus create a uniform method to predict bird species occurrence and abundance. Having a uniform system allows research to be collated and compared among other metropolitan areas.