Kylynn Parker, University of Utah
Red Butte Canyon (RBC) is a Research Natural Area administered by the US Forest Service in Salt Lake City, Utah. RBC is an undisturbed area and a haven for all types of birds. Most of the avian species found in this area are migratory, and either pass through or breed in the area. The overall aim of this project is to determine if there have been any notable changes in populations of species in the area over the past 22 years. The research question that is covered in this summary are the following: has the density and relative abundance of the top five most commonly detected avian species in Red Butte Canyon notably changed through time in Transect 1? Data was collected by Mark Leppert, PhD and Sherwood Casjens, PhD of the University of Utah. They recorded the number and species of birds that were both seen and heard in 10 different transects within RBC over the past 22 years (1991-2013) and 457 survey days. In 2013 and 2014, I compiled and entered all of the data into a database with the guidance of the researchers. For analysis, I focused on the five most commonly detected species in Transect 1. These species are Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapilla), Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus), Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), American Robin (Turdus migratorius), and Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena). Detection trends were found by graphing the number of individual birds seen or heard in Transect 1 over the days since surveys began in 1991 and statistical evidence was found showing significant changes in species population size of these five most commonly detected species, especially in the case of the American Robin which exhibits a decline in detections in recent years.