University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Renaissance Academy 2014

Renaissance Academy
2900 Pleasantwood Rd
Powhatan, VA 23139

Year: 2014
Teacher(s): Kristina McCullough

Cityscapes or Country Quiet

Kaitlin (Kaity) M

I wondered if two habitats were similar, how would the surrounding environment, city or country, affect the number of birds in that area? In comparing these two different count sites, I discovered that while the number of birds was not significantly different, the types and number of species were. I wanted to conduct this experiment because I am working with my local bird banders, and was wondering what kind of data could be gathered by setting up a station in the city. These results can be used to show that woodland islands and corridors are helpful in sustaining the population of birds.

Creamy or Crunchy

Mikaela B

This experiment was conducted to determine whether birds had a preference between sunflower seeds and peanut butter. I decided to test this because I was curious about how food supply shortages might affect birds and how their tastes might differ from humans. To test my experiment, I put the two food choices in separate sections of a bird feeder and recorded the number of birds that visited each food type for three consecutive days. According to the data I collected, I discovered that birds preferred sunflower seeds to peanut butter.

Noisy Neighbors

Mary K, Elizabeth (Lizzie) S

We conducted our experiment because we wondered what NOT to do on a bird count. We carried out six total counts in three different environments to control for bird type. At each site, we conducted a quiet count, then created a disturbance with talking, noisy moving, and rustling of branches, then we counted again. Our results showed that many birds were scared off by our noise resulting in half as many birds present. We were surprised that some birds still stayed close by and would like to study which species were more timid and which were more immune to human disturbance.

Spicy Science

Connor B

I designed my experiment to help me discover if birds have a sense of taste. I made two different kinds of suet cake, one spicy and the other plain. I set up my experiment and recorded the data for four days. The results were that more birds ate the plain suet. I had read that birds don't have a sense of taste but to my surprise the results suggest that they might have a slight one. The data I collected was made up of a small range of bird species. If I wanted a clearer answer I would need a wider range.

Would You Like Yellow with That?

Jackson C, Matthew (Matt) S

We observed that certain birds acquire their color from the food they eat. We wondered if all birds, therefore, would prefer more vibrant food. For our experiment, we dyed suet and safflower seeds yellow to determine if birds would choose this hued food. Our results showed, surprisingly, that almost three times more birds visited the undyed food than the yellow food.

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