Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)
Type of Culminating Activity
Master of Science in Biology
Jesse R. Barber, Ph.D.
Jennifer Forbey, Ph.D.
Julie Heath, Ph.D.
Numerous studies document impacts of roads on wildlife, and suggest traffic noise as a primary cause of population declines near roads. For migratory birds faced with increasingly human-altered habitats, noise may pose a serious threat. Using an array of speakers, we applied traffic noise to a roadless landscape, directly testing the effect of noise alone on an entire songbird community. Focusing on individuals that stayed despite the noise, we demonstrate that songbirds show a near halving of ability to gain body condition when exposed to traffic noise during migratory stopover. This marked degradation in stopover efficiency may help explain dramatic declines in migratory songbirds worldwide. We conducted complementary laboratory experiments that implicate foraging-vigilance behavior as one mechanism driving this pattern. Our results suggest that noise pollution degrades habitat that is otherwise suitable, and that a species’ presence does not indicate the absence of impact.
Ware, Heidi Elise, "Traffic Noise Decreases Body Condition and Stopover Efficiency of Migrating Songbirds" (2014). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 883.