Committee Chair

Aborn, David A.

Committee Member

Boyd, Jennifer N.; Klug, Hope M.


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Many North American landbirds undergo biannual migration, which is energetically costly. Quality stopover sites are crucial to avian survival, as they provide opportunities to quickly replenish fat stores, rest, and avoid predation. One component of habitat quality that is often overlooked is the level of pedestrian activity, which birds interpret as potential predators. If intrusion levels are high, birds will flush readily and may not adequately restore energy reserves, which hinders successful migration. I compared body mass index between birds at different intrusion levels, testing the hypothesis that birds near continuous intrusion are less capable of replenishing body fat. Results between migratory guilds indicate long-distance migrants require areas of low intrusion to sufficiently acquire fat stores. In contrast, resident species are able to replenish body mass despite human intrusion. Since Neotropical migrants show increased sensitivity to human presence, conservation measures should focus on reducing pedestrian activity for quality stopover habitats.


I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many people. First and foremost, my advisor, Dr. David Aborn, has provided me with endless guidance, insight, and patience during this process. Not only did he assist my work in the field, but he has mentored me throughout this process. He has been invaluable in his knowledge, encouragement, and forgiveness. Thank you so much. I also thank Drs. Jennifer Boyd and Hope Klug for being willing to step into my committee and contribute a plethora of knowledge in a short period of time. Their comments and revisions were vital in the timely completion of my thesis. I also acknowledge Drs. Loren Hayes and Mark Schorr for their contributions to my work. I thank the City of Chattanooga for allowing me to use Greenway Farms as a study site, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Office of Partnerships and Sponsored Programs for awarding me a Provost Student Research Award to help fund my thesis project. The faculty, staff, graduate peers, and friends in the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department have poured out continuous assistance: I wish I had room to list you all by name! I also deeply appreciate my parents for their lifelong support: they raised me to be inquisitive, hard-working, and motivated, which are necessary skills for a researcher. Finally, I want to thank my husband, who has supported and encouraged me in all of our marriage, but especially during my busy time as a graduate student.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Birds -- Migration; Migratory birds; Birds -- Ecology; Birds -- Conservation


migration; stopover; human intrusion; recreationists; avian body condition

Document Type

Masters theses




xii, 67 leaves