Effects of bridge construction on songbirds and small mammals at Blennerhassett Island, Ohio River, USA
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- Vance, J.A., Angus, N.B. & Anderson, J.T. Environ Monit Assess (2013) 185: 7739. doi:10.1007/s10661-013-3131-5
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Construction of man-made objects such as roads and bridges may have impacts on wildlife depending on species or location. We investigated songbirds and small mammals along the Ohio River, WV, USA at a new bridge both before and after construction and at a bridge crossing that was present throughout the study. Comparisons were made at each site over three time periods (1985–1987 [Phase I] and 1998–2000 [Phase II] [pre-construction], 2007–2009 [Phase III] [post-construction]) and at three distances (0, 100, 300 m) from the bridge or proposed bridge location. Overall, 70 songbirds and 10 small mammals were detected during the study. Cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and rock pigeons (Columba livia) showed high affinity for bridges (P < 0.05). Combined small mammal abundances increased between Phases I and II (P < 0.05), but did not differ between Phases II and III (P > 0.05). Species richness and diversity for songbirds and small mammals did not differ before and after bridge construction (P > 0.05). We found that most species sampled did not respond to the bridge crossing, and believe that the bridge is not causing any measurable negative density impacts to the species we investigated. The new bridge does provide habitat for exotic rock pigeons that are adjusted to man-made structures for nesting.