Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Biology

Date of Award

5-2010

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Fred J. Alsop III

Committee Members

Thomas F. Laughlin, Istvan Karsai

Abstract

The Hermit Thrush is a new breeding bird in the Southern Appalachian high-elevation mountains, having expanded its range southward over the last few decades. Here it is sympatric with the Veery, a congeneric breeding resident. In order to more fully understand why the range expansion took place and to understand more about the local ecology of the newly arrived bird, I measured several habitat variables in 30 Hermit Thrush and 24 Veery territories. Principal Components Analysis and Cluster Analysis brought to light several patterns of habitat preferences for these 2 species. Hermit Thrushes prefer territories with more leaf litter on the ground and less shrub density than Veery territories. Competition between these species should remain low, as their niche differences brought to light in this study should enable them to breed in close proximity to each other in these high-elevation mountains.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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