Term of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Michael P. Moulton

Committee Member 1

John W. Parrish

Committee Member 2

Hugh Lefcort


Avian populations, in highly urbanized habitats such as parking lots, have not been studied in detail. Several opportunistic foragers, that feed on discarded human food, inhabit such urban areas in Savannah, Georgia. These species include House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), Crows (Corvus sp.), Boat-tailed Grackles (Quiscalns major), which occur in these habitats year-round, and Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis), which occur there only in the winter.

I walked timed transects and recorded number of individuals per species, foraging substrate, nearest cover, and distance to the nearest cover for each individual. With these data I compared abundance and use of space in two extremely urbanized areas (the Oglethorpe and Savannah Malls). I tested the hypothesis that certain species (i. e. Crows and Boat-tailed Crackles) changed their foraging behavior and their abundance as a result of competition with Ring-billed Gulls.

Results indicated that the malls differed in species abundances; that some species' abundances showed seasonal shifts; and that Boat-tailed grackles foraged closer to cover when Ring-billed Gulls were present.