Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Steven Rice


Shrubland Ecosystems, Scrub-Oak, Shrubland Birds, Ecology, TLS, Quercus, Albany Pine Bush, Setophaga Discolor, Conservation


The shrublands within the Albany Pine Bush Preserve are subject to restoration strategies that result in habitats that differ in shrub density and height. We investigated how these differences affect shrubland bird communities and whether terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is useful for characterizing shrub structure. Avian point count surveys for shrubland birds were conducted at five sites in the Albany Pine Bush, each site was surveyed seven times from May 31st to July 11th. Sites varied in height and density of the dominant scrub oaks (Quercus prinoides and Q.ilicifolia ). Shrub structure was evaluated using field transects and TLS. The most prevalent bird species were Setophaga discolor (Prairie Warbler), Spizella pusilla (Field Sparrow), and Pipilo erythrophthalmus (Eastern Towhee), which were recorded at almost every visitation to three sites in the middle of the shrub height gradient. In the site with the tallest shrubs,, only the Eastern Towhee was recorded. Bird visitation data showed that shrubland indicator bird species prefer sites with roughly 50% scrub-oak coverage and a mean scrub-oak height of 1.5m. We propose that the high counts for these three species is linked to their adaptability to high-disturbance sites and their characteristic shrub-nesting and gleaning behaviors. Overall, TLS was useful in determining average and maximum vegetation heights per site, but more thorough field work would be required to learn shrub species composition or information about growth or productivity.



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