Impacts of Habitat and Urbanization on Avian Biodiversity and Behavior

Cities and towns on the outskirts of Seattle are wrestling with how to balance the impacts of their rapidly expanding populations with the management of parks and green spaces that have characterized their communities.  It is critical to monitor anthropogenic impacts to ensure the health and well-being of the people and wildlife in these areas. Through this study, we aim to better understand the effects of a rapidly urbanizing environment on bird communities by examining how habitat characteristics and urbanization interact to impact avian biodiversity and behavior in the green spaces of Lake Forest Park, WA and surrounding areas. 

In spring 2020, Board Member Doug Wacker received a UW Bothell Scholarship, Research, and Creative Practice (SRCP) Seed Grant to fund this project for 2020-2021.  Dr. Wacker hired three UW Bothell undergraduates, Andrea Castro, Kira Lemke, and Alex Moseley to assist with this project.  In summer 2020, the team sharpened their bird identification skills, established point count protocols for bird surveys, and completed basic habitat mapping for 11 parks in Lake Forest Park, 4 urban parks in Seattle, 6 rural parks, and 3 areas in Snoqualmie Ridge.  In February 2022, Dr. Wacker presented a preliminary progress report to the Lake Forest Park Parks Board and Mayor.  

You can read an article about the project here, and watch a video presentation about early findings here: 

Photo by Doug Wacker

Current Statussociallydistantfieldwork
Through a partnership between the LFPSF and the University of Washington Bothell, species and behavior surveys continue.  A citizen scientist component of this project is currently being formulated, where community members can collect data  for this long-term project. An official website for this project is also nearly complete. 
Photo by Doug Wacker

Here are a few of the many birds species that we’ve seen thus far.  We’d like to send a special thank you out to LFP community member Maggie Forrester for her wonderful photographs!

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Photo by Maggie Forrester
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
Photo by Maggie Forrester
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
Photo by Maggie Forrester