Bird of Prey Migration in the Greater Toronto Area
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Topography is known to factor into the migration patterns of birds of prey. As topography changes to reflect changing land use and urbanization, it becomes important to assess migrating species biodiversity. In this paper I attempt to evaluate how Lake Ontario, as a topographic barrier for the southbound autumn migrating birds of prey, impacts local bird of prey biodiversity. Using data collected by volunteers from four Hawk Watch groups in the Greater Toronto Area I evaluated species richness and diversity for each of the sites. In this, I found that Cranberry Marsh had the greatest Shannon-Weiner diversity index values among the four groups. It is therefore the site with the greatest biodiversity, a result contrary to my hypothesis. I followed this analysis with a comparison of species between three sites: High Park, Cranberry Marsh, and Iroquois Shoreline. Overall, I found a great amount of consistency between all sites, rather than High Park reporting the greatest numbers which was expected. Given the proximity of each study site to each other this result suggests a strong tendency for successful repeatability using the conventional Hawk Watch methodology. Further studies on methodological accuracy, as well as integration of citizen science generated knowledge for use in ecological studies are possible points of investigation to build upon for future research.