Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

First Advisor

Prof Harry Recher

Abstract

Knowledge of the general responses of bird populations to urbanisation and an understanding of their habitat requirements is necessary to ensure the continuation of bird life in urban areas. Most of the literature on urban birds around the world has concentrated on birds in streets and remnant patches. Urban parks provide much potential habitat for birds, although there are few publications addressing this issue. The aims of this project were to determine the terrestrial avifauna of Perth's northern suburban parks, investigate physical factors that might influence the distribution of birds, and determine the attitudes of park users towards birds in suburban parks. Sixteen suburban recreational parks, ranging from 2.5 - 10 ha, were sampled for birds in the northern suburbs of the Perth metropolitan region. Twenty-six terrestrial bird species (including five introduced species) were recorded. This is only a small sample of the potential pool of species available and may be attributed to the isolation and relatively small size of all of Perth's northern suburban parks. The feeding and foraging guilds of the birds of Perth's parks were different to those documented in other urban studies around the world, which is a reflection of high proportion of native vegetation retained in Perth's suburbs. Tree canopy height was the most influential factor on the birds of urban parks. Birds were also surveyed in streets adjacent to the park sites. The results revealed that urban birds use the individual components of the urban matrix differently. All facets of the urban matrix should be investigated in future studies which aim to determine the effects of urbanisation on birds. No park users mentioned watching birds as a reason to visit Perth's suburban parks. The Galah, Kookaburra and Rainbow Lorikeet were identified by Perth's park users as the most desirable urban bird species; the Raven and Magpie were considered the least desirable species. Bird song/call was identified as the most desirable bird characteristic and aggression the least desirable bird characteristic. Ninety-seven precent of park users thought that birds should be encouraged to inhabit suburban areas. The results suggest that while birds are not considered an important reason for visiting parks, most birds are liked by park users and there is a general consensus that birds should be encouraged in suburban areas. Methods to encourage birds into suburban areas include establishing habitat corridors between isolated parks and remnant bushlands, ensuring a diverse, native vegetation of differing strata levels, controlling cats and dogs, reducing lawn cover, retaining some large, old trees with suitable nesting holes and, narrowing the gap between the public's interest and their knowledge regarding birds.

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