The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research Project has found that the bird population has a slightly higher species richness (number of species) and greater abundance (number of birds in general) in urban Phoenix than in the surrounding Sonoran Desert, but the real surprise comes in a recent study that shows that the city birds can be truly discriminating about where they choose to live. The study's results indicate that bird populations are influenced by economic factors -- more species live in wealthy neighborhoods than in middle and lower income areas. In a study of 15 small community parks located in Phoenix neighborhoods with distinct socioeconomic classifications ranging from lower to upper income, Arizona State University ecologists Ann P. Kinzig and Paige Warren measured the abundance and diversity of both birds and trees. The researchers chose parks rather than residential yards because these city-controlled spaces offered comparable environments for the study sites, with a similar landscape (grass, athletic fields, facilities and scattered trees) but significant differences in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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