Presentation Title

Tree Swallow defense behaviors against competitor House Sparrow species

Presenter Information

Darrah JonesFollow

Faculty Mentor

Pablo Weaver

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

108

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

The success of Tree Swallow (Tachycienta bicolor) offspring is reliant on the level of aggression by parents against avian predators and competitors for nest sites. Competition by invasive species adds additional pressure to vulnerable avian species. House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are an invasive species that is known for outcompeting native cavity nesting birds, such as Tree Swallows, due to their rapid reproduction rate and the potential lack of defense mechanisms by the naive native species. Maintaining healthy populations of native Tree Swallows is key to the controlling of populations of pests and insects on farmlands and in ecological stability in surrounding habitats. There has been little research done on the specific relationship between native Tree Swallows and the competing House Sparrow species. This study aimed to investigate Tree Swallows’ defense mechanisms in the presence of competing House Sparrow. The level of aggression towards a decoy House Sparrow was be determined by accounting for the number of dives, alarm calls, sit and watch behavior, and the number of tree swallows present during a 5 minute period. The results showed the subject Tree Swallows had a significant decrease in overall aggression behaviors towards the decoy House Sparrow compared to the decoy American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Understanding the aggressive response of Tree Swallows to invasive House Sparrows will give us an indication of the potential of naive cavity nesting species to ward off invasive competitors, like the House Sparrow.

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Tree Swallow defense behaviors against competitor House Sparrow species

108

The success of Tree Swallow (Tachycienta bicolor) offspring is reliant on the level of aggression by parents against avian predators and competitors for nest sites. Competition by invasive species adds additional pressure to vulnerable avian species. House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are an invasive species that is known for outcompeting native cavity nesting birds, such as Tree Swallows, due to their rapid reproduction rate and the potential lack of defense mechanisms by the naive native species. Maintaining healthy populations of native Tree Swallows is key to the controlling of populations of pests and insects on farmlands and in ecological stability in surrounding habitats. There has been little research done on the specific relationship between native Tree Swallows and the competing House Sparrow species. This study aimed to investigate Tree Swallows’ defense mechanisms in the presence of competing House Sparrow. The level of aggression towards a decoy House Sparrow was be determined by accounting for the number of dives, alarm calls, sit and watch behavior, and the number of tree swallows present during a 5 minute period. The results showed the subject Tree Swallows had a significant decrease in overall aggression behaviors towards the decoy House Sparrow compared to the decoy American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Understanding the aggressive response of Tree Swallows to invasive House Sparrows will give us an indication of the potential of naive cavity nesting species to ward off invasive competitors, like the House Sparrow.