Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alexis Racelis

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Brush

Third Advisor

Dr. Frank Dirrigl


The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas has experience rapid population growth and increase of urban area since the mid-20th century. The goal of this thesis were to: 1) explore patterns of avian communities in suburban and remnant urban woodlands, with particular interest in native forest species, and 2) to assess how local habitat variables, such as number of native trees, affect avian communities in suburban habitats, and 3) provide recommendations to municipalities and homeowners to enhance urban habitats for birds. Results indicated that remnant urban woodlands provided habitat for common native forest bird species that otherwise avoided suburban habitats, and therefore should be conserved. Increased vegetation cover had a positive effect on bird diversity and native forest bird species richness while increased impervious cover and grass cover decreased both avian community metrics. Local habitat features were correlated with bird species abundances and bird diversity metrics.


Copyright 2016 John S. Brush. All Rights Reserved.