Experiment Design Analysis - Bird Deterrents

Bird Deterrents

This is a Cornell Lab Classroom FeederWatch research project.
Reference: Kusch, M. 2000. Birds, Boats, and Science Fairs. Birdscope, Volume 14, Number 1:14.
By Sara and Caitlin
Mr. Stadille's 6th grade class
Carmel Middle School,     Carmel, CA
Bird Deterrents 42k

Hypothesis:

If bird deterrents are related to keeping birds away from boats, then a boat without a bird deterrent will have more birds on it than a boat with a deterrent.  See below for a picture of the two deterrents referred to in this project.

Materials And Equipment:

Log book and binoculars.

Procedure:

  1. Set up logbook to record data.
  2. Watch birds in Monterey Marina for one-half hour on three different days.
  3. Find nine pleasure boats with fake owls, seven with gull-sweeps, and ten without any deterrents. Find four fishing boats with fake owls, four with gull-sweeps, and ten without any deterrents.
  4. Observe and count the birds on each boat.
  5. Record data in logbook.

Data:

On November 21, 1998, we counted the following numbers of birds on boats:

Bird species Boats with fake owls Boats with gull-sweeps Boats w/o deterrent
Western Gull 2 (fishing)
1 (pleasure)
0 4 (fishing)
5 (pleasure)
Brown Pelican 1 (fishing) 0 1 (fishing)
1 (pleasure)
Pigeon 1 (pleasure) 0 2 (fishing)
Cormorant 0 0 1 (fishing)
Brewer's Blackbird 0 0 1 (pleasure)
Total 5 0 15

 

On November 29, 1998, we counted the following numbers of birds on boats:

Bird species Boats with fake owls Boats with gull-sweeps Boats w/o deterrent
Western Gull 1 (fishing) 0 2 (fishing)
3 (pleasure)
Brown Pelican 1 (pleasure) 0 3 (fishing)
1 (pleasure)
Pigeon 0 0 2 (fishing)
Cormorant 0 0 0
Brewer's Blackbird 0 0 0
Total 2 0 11

 

On December 6, 1998, we counted the following numbers of birds on boats:

Bird species Boats with fake owls Boats with gull-sweeps Boats w/o deterrents
Western Gull 2 (fishing) 0 5 (fishing)
4 (pleasure)
Brown Pelican 0 0 2 (fishing)
Pigeon 1 (fishing) 0 4 (fishing)
1 (pleasure)
Cormorant 0 0 1 (fishing)
Brewer's Blackbird 0 0 0
Total 3 0 17

 

data bar graph 6k

Analysis:

The data shows that there are fewer birds on boats with deterrents. The graph illustrates that gull-sweeps work very well, because there were no birds on boats with gull-sweeps. The graph also shows that the fake owls help, but do not work completely, because there were fewer birds on boats with fake owls than on the boats with no deterrents. This supports the hypothesis that bird deterrents work. We learned that the gull-sweep is the best investment, rather than a fake owl, even though the owl seems to help. The data shows that fishing boats had more birds than pleasure boats. This is probably because the fish scraps are attracting the birds. This report did not look at the effects of inflatable snakes as deterrents, because we could not observe any.

Conclusion:

We went to the Monterey Marina and looked at boats. Some of the boats had fake owls, some had gull-sweeps and some did not have any deterrent on the boat. We observed different species of birds and counted how many birds were on the boats. We found no birds on boats with gull-sweeps, and fewer birds on boats with fake owls than on boats with no deterrents. Possibly gull-sweeps work better because they are moving, while a bird can get used to a fake owl. Some of the things we could do to improve this experiment are increasing the number of times we went to the marina, and bird watching for a longer amount of time. We predict that more people are going to get gull-sweeps and birds will have fewer places to land. The birds may start landing on houses and docks. If people have a problem with birds on their buildings, this study suggests they should put gull-sweeps on them instead of fake owls.

 

Questions

  1. Where did this study take place?
     
  2. How many days of observations were there?
     
  3. How many pleasure boats were observed?     How many fishing boats?
     
  4. Did the study conclude that bird deterrents are effective?   Why?
     


  5. What bird deterrent was mentioned but not observed at the marina?
     
  6. What bird species was most abundant? Which was the least abundant?
     


  7. How could the study be strengthened?
     


  8. Was this a manipulative or an observational experiment? Why?
     


  9. What was the manipulated variable(s)?
     
  10. What was the responding variable(s)?
     
  11. What were the controlled variables?
     
  12. Was there a control group? If so what was it?