We are currently conducting a field study examining the birds, mid-size mammals, and bats that occur in conservation development (CD) subdivisions in Northern Colorado. We are interested in understanding how CD design factors and the behavior of CD residents influence the community of species that occur within CD preserved areas.
Specifically, we are asking the following questions:
1. What design and stewardship factors influence the occurrence of birds, mid-size mammals, and bats in CDs?
CD design and stewardship factors may include: the area and proportion of protected open space, the configuration and density of houses in the development, the number of roads and fences bisecting the development, surrounding land use, native vegetation cover, presence of domesticated animals, recreation in the open space, resource subsidies (i.e. gardens and birdfeeders), light and noise disturbances.
2. How do these factors differ in the ways that they influence species occurrence?
3. Which factors are most likely to support the occurrence of native species and species that are sensitive to development?
To answer these questions, we are conducting bird point count surveys, deploying wildlife cameras for mid-size mammal detection, and using acoustic monitoring for bat detection. Here are a few mammals detected during the first season:
The results of this research will provide land developers with recommendations for the successful design and construction of future CDs, and will give landowners the information they need to make ecologically beneficial changes in their land management practices.