Local Habitats

Lab 1: Bird Breeding: What does Bird Breeding Data tell us about our local habitat?

Problem: What habitats are found in our local area?

Background Information: (Do not copy.) In this activity you will look at the birds that breed in the block you live in.  For each bird you will have to determine its primary habitat.  You can determine this by looking it up in the field guide.  Many birds can live in several habitats, but its primary habitat will usually be listed first.
Example: American Crow: woodlands, farmlands, field
We would list the crow as a forest species, and that is, in fact, where it nests. We will try to classify all habitats as either forest, agricultural, field, residential, or wetland. Below are listed some of the habitats that would be found under each grouping.
Forest: forests, woodland, forest edge, deciduous and coniferous woods, wooded swamps, orchards
Field: meadow, prairie, open country, brushy open country, hayfields, brushy pastures, grassland, thickets, weeds, thistles, undergrowth
Agricultural: farmland, pastures, croplands
Residential: suburban, cities, towns, parks
Wetland: streams, marsh, rivers, coast, lakes,

Pre-lab Question: In what habitat would you classify the following 2 species?

Blue Jay: open and pine woods, suburban gardens, towns

House Finch: cities, suburbs, farms

What you will do: Use the Bird Breeding Atlas Information or the website to find the birds breeding in your area from 2002-2006. To select a block, go to the MD/DC Breeding Bird Atlas Site. and select either your county or a quad (closest town) and any block to get data more specific to your locale. Set the data chart up in your notebook or on a spreadsheet.  For each bird, list its habitat as either forest, field/meadow, agricultural, wetland, or residential. Count and record the number of birds breeding in each of the 5 habitats.  Then calculate the percentage breeding in each habitat. Graph the percentage of each of these 5 habitats for your block.


Bird Breeding Block
Robin Residential

Set up this table to show the number and percentage of each habitat found in

Bird Breeding Block
HABITAT # of Birds in this Habitat % of Birds in this Habitat