Bird Community Associations Across Land Cover Categories within an Urban Matrix
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Urban areas are man-made ecosystems that have increased in size and complexity in the past century. I surveyed the avifaunal community of San Marcos, Texas over a period of one year and compared species and guild diversity to land cover within the urban matrix. San Marcos is a medium sized city (population ~50,000) that was established in 1851. Since the city’s founding, land and waterways with the city have been altered by humans for residential and commercial/industrial purposes. To understand how avifaunal communities are associated within the urban matrix of San Marcos, I surveyed birds at 39 point counts during each season over a period of one year within the city’s urban center and periphery. Species diversity and evenness indices were calculated. A guild analysis was also conducted to examine how land use types may influence the guild structure of the avifaunal community. Species diversity was found to be highest in sites with the least amount of impervious cover and lower at sites with the greatest amount of impervious cover and was significantly influenced by both land use type and season. Land use class and season were both found to significantly affect guild diversity. The guild analysis also indicated that functional homogenization is occurring as members of the ground foraging guild represented the majority of species and individual sightings across all seasons and sites, regardless of land cover type.