Draft 2: How swans react to human behavior.

This topic submitted by Matt Kelly, Brad Hamilton, Brian Foster, and Greg Dutton (mattnkelly@hotmail.com) at 11:59 pm on 9/29/99. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins


What is our hypothesis?
Our group is studying the reactions of the Western swans when extraneous objects are introduced to their environment. We feel that the sounds and people around the pond will generally repel the swans. During a hot day we feel that the swans will stay in the shade during a hot day so as not to get overheated. We also think that the swans will generally remain in the pond from late morning until mid to late afternoon. This could also change based on the times that the swans would be fed.

What do we plan on accomplishing?
We plan on learning how the swans react to human behavior and extraneous sounds and objects introduced to their environment.

Why is this research interesting?

We feel this research topic is interesting because of the strange behavior of the Western swans. We would like to figure out why the Western swans have such volatile attitudes and why they act so mean to humans. We predict that the swans will stay here all year round because their wings are clipped. If we can we would also like to study swans that are able to migrate and live in their own natural environment. We may do this by traveling up to Hueston Woods and studying the swans in the lake. But, those swans might have flown south by the time we are able to set up our experiments and travel out there to study them.

Relevance of our research question:

Literature Review-What have others done?
The group from last year studied the effects that colors had on the swans, and how they acted before and after they were fed. They floated balls of certain colors in the pond and watched the swans to see how they reacted; whether they swan up to them, attacked them, or swam away. They also studied the swans fifteen minutes before and after they were fed in order to see if there was any change in their behavior. One of the students' problems was that one of the swans is blind and didn't react to any of the colors. This threw off their results and added an extra variable.

How does your research relate to a larger question?
Our research relates to the real world by how the swans react to humans in a natural environment. Also how any sounds will effect animals. Other studies like this will aid us in determining whether or not humans have effected animals in their environment. Also having the result of this study may help us structure a better environment for the swans or other animals in general.

What is your experimental design? Is it statistically sound?
We plan on studying the swans throughout the day to observe their habit and record their reactions toward sounds and humans. Our ideas are to observe where the swans are during different times of the day. Then comparing where they are to the other swans, time of day, weather, and sun and shade. Then we also plan on introducing different sounds to them and observing their reaction. We are also going to deal with different pitches, volume levels and types of music. We feel that are design is statistically sound because we plan on studying the swans at different times of the day in order to get different results.

Describe important materials and how they will be used.
Some materials we plan on using include:
Car Horn
Bottles filled with water, to make certain sounds

How will you involve the class in your study?
We plan on asking the class to add any additional information they might come across. For example, if someone would happen to pass the pond and write down significant information they might have seen, or any information at all.

Have you included a data sheet?
No, we have no data yet.

Include a specific time-line of research ideas.
10/2 Start collecting data every day, at different times.
10/4 check at 8:45 and 1:45 continued throughout project - Mon., Wed., and Fri.
Group progress meetings every Sat. @12:00 and sound experimentation.

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