Avian monitoring within tourist and reserve zones of Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria
Spear, Kathryn Anne
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Human disturbance of ecosystems affects bird communities in many ways, causing avoidance behavior, nest abandonment, increased energy expenditures, decreased fitness, and lowered species richness. Recent changes in Bulgaria have encouraged growth of ecotourism and necessitated development of bio-monitoring programs. My research developed a long-term avian monitoring program to evaluate responses of avian communities to increasing levels of ecotourism for Central Balkan National Park (CBNP), while inspiring collaboration between Bulgaria and the United States. I used variable-radius point counts and distance sampling to survey bird communities in old-growth beech (Fagus sylvatica) forests in CBNP on tourist and reserve sites. I used programs DISTANCE to generate density estimates for select species and SPECRICH2 to calculate species richness for tourist and reserve sites. Although more species of conservation significance were found in reserve sites, I detected no difference between estimated species densities or richness in tourist vs. reserve sites.