Faculty Sponsor

Alex Capaldi


Arts and Sciences


Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


American Robins (Turdus migratorius) and Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) are two species of migratory thrushes that breed in Northwest Indiana but historically are uncommonly present during the winter season (November 1 - March 1). 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. Ultimately, this model will yield a carrying capacity that could explain changes in the birds' migratory patterns.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Samuel Iselin is a freshman mathematics major from Platteville, Wisconsin. He graduated from Platteville High School. Samuel plans to continue research in mathematics throughout his time at Valparaiso University. Shannon Segin is a senior mathematics major from Hoffman Estates, Illinois. She graduated from William Fremd High School. Upon graduation in May, she will begin working for the Denver School of Science and Technology. This is the first undergraduate research project for both authors.