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Abstract

American Robins (Turdus migratorius) and Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) are two species of migratory thrushes that breed in Northwest Indiana but historically are uncommon during the winter season. These trends have changed recently, and both species are seen more abundantly during the winter. Recently invaded non-native fruiting plants continue to provide nutrients for the birds throughout the winter and may contribute to the increased avian populations during that time. To measure the effect these food sources contribute to thrush wintering habits, we created an agent-based computer model to simulate the birds' movement in Northwest Indiana along with their food consumption over the course of the winter season. The model incorporates availability of food sources, foraging and roosting behavior, bio-energetics, and starvation, with parameter values informed by the literature. We obtained simulated winter survival rates of the birds that could begin to explain the changes in the birds' migratory patterns.

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