Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sharon Gill

Second Advisor

Victor de Brito

Third Advisor

John Brenneman


Decreasing bird populations have been noted with habitat loss, climate change, and human development. With an estimated loss of 2.9 billion birds in North American since the 1970’s (Rosenberg et al. 2019), I found it necessary to determine whether this pat tern was reflected in local bird populations. At Kleinstuck Preserve, a birding hotspot in Kalamazoo, MI, I was able to access data from 48 years of bird surveys starting in 1973 with 209 total bird species documented from 1973-2021. Kleinstuck is a 60-acre nature preserve that has been protected as natural land since 1922 despite being surrounded by urban development. My study aims to determine the extent to which birds utilize Kleinstuck Preserve as a migratory stopover. Both migrant and resident bird species are portrayed to depict patterns in species composition and detect differences between the two categories of birds. My methodology follows a snapshot approach that captures the species composition in 1973, 1997, and 2021. This approach is similar to that used in Walk et al. 2010, reflecting the patterns in species composition from the beginning, middle and end points of data collection at Kleinstuck Preserve. Of the top 1% of migrant and resident species documented at Kleinstuck Preserve in these 3 years, there is a pattern of decline in migratory bird abundance. For 16 of the 29 migratory species that met this qualification, the maximum percent composition was obtained in 1973. An illustration of the species composition changes from the first, middle, and final increment depicts that migratory birds have declined relative to the total bird population at Kleinstuck preserve. The reasoning behind migratory bird declines at Kleinstuck Preserve is very complex, as there are numerous factors that contribute to such declines. Habitat loss, land development, noise and light pollution, habitat change, competition, and climate variation are among potential factors that may have contributed to bird declines at Kleinstuck Preserve. With approximately half of the major migratory species declining according to the patterns of this snapshot, there is reason to take action to further protect migratory bird species. Based on the species count, which increased by two migrant species and four resident species from 1973 and 1997 to 2021, Kleinstuck Preserve has remained a valuable migratory stopover site for many bird species.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Biology Commons