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We studied Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) diets and the relative abundance and habitat associations of major prey species in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)-Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) forest in north-central Arizona, USA, from 1990 to 1993. The owl's diet was comprised of 94% mammals by biomass and consisted of primarily the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), brush mouse (P boylii), Mexican woodrat (Neotoma mexicana), and Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus). Spotted owl prey in our study area were smaller on average than prey in other locations, and the total biomass of potential prey was less than that reported in other areas within the owl's geographic range. Although all prey populations...
The southwestern willow flycatcher (SWFL; Empidonax traillii extimus) is an endangered songbird whose habitat has declined dramatically over the last century. Understanding habitat selection patterns and the ability to identify potential breeding areas for the SWFL is crucial to the management and conservation of this species. We developed a multiscaled model of SWFL breeding habitat with a Geographic Information System (GIS), survey data, GIS variables, and multiple logistic regressions. We obtained presence and absence survey data from a riverine ecosystem and a reservoir delta in south-central Arizona, USA, in 1999. We extracted the GIS variables from satellite imagery and digital elevation models to characterize...
We used radio-telemetry to study the movements and habitat use of Western toads (Bufo boreas) in the Targhee National Forest in southeastern Idaho. Eighteen toads (10 male and 8 female) that bred in a seasonally flooded pond, were fitted with radio-transmitters, tracked, and their movements mapped and analyzed with global positioning and geographic information systems. We also analyzed their patterns of habitat selection at micro- and macro-scales by comparing sites used by toads with randomly selected sites. After breeding, two male and six female toads left the breeding pond and used terrestrial habitats extensively. Male and female toads showed different patterns of movement and habitat use, although all toads...
The Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) is a threatened subspecies whose recovery depends, in part, on both an understanding of its habitat requirements and the protection of its habitat. Therefore, we evaluated habitat composition and configuration around owl sites in the Tularosa Mountains, New Mexico, using a vegetation map derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) digital imagery and digital elevation models. Owls occupied sites with more mature mixed-conifer and mature pine and less pinyon-juniper than random sites. No difference existed in the amount of young forest between owl and random sites. After correcting for the area of the vegetation classes within owl territories, no difference existed...
We responded to the claim by Greenwald et al. (2005) that the management recommendations for the northern goshawk in the Southwestern United States (MRNG; Reynolds et al. 1992), a food web-based conservation plan that incorporated both northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and multiple prey habitats, may be inadequate to protect goshawks. Greenwald et al. (2005) based this claim on their review of 12 telemetry studies of goshawk habitat selection and 5 nontelemetry studies of the effects of vegetation structure at the home range scale on goshawk nest occupancy and reproduction that appeared after the 1992 publication of the MRNG. Greenwald et al. (2005) summarized their review as showing that 1) goshawks were habitat...
The consequences of climate change for ecosystem structure and function remain largely unknown. Here, I examine the ability of climate variation to explain long-term changes in bird and plant populations, as well as trophic interactions in a high-elevation riparian system in central Arizona, USA, based on 20 years of study. Abundances of dominant deciduous trees have declined dramatically over the 20 years, correlated with a decline in overwinter snowfall. Snowfall can affect overwinter presence of elk, whose browsing can significantly impact deciduous tree abundance. Thus, climate may affect the plant community indirectly through effects on herbivores, but may also act directly by influencing water availability...
Increased levels of natural gas exploration, development, and production across the Intermountain West have created a variety of concerns for mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations, including direct habitat loss to road and well-pad construction and indirect habitat losses that may occur if deer use declines near roads or well pads. We examined winter habitat selection patterns of adult female mule deer before and during the first 3 years of development in a natural gas field in western Wyoming. We used global positioning system (GPS) locations collected from a sample of adult female mule deer to model relative frequency or probability of use as a function of habitat variables. Model coefficients and predictive...
Dramatic declines in the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, a genetically unique population of small, burrowing rabbits in Northwestern United States, are likely the combined results of habitat degradation and fragmentation, disease, and predation. A critical component of pygmy rabbit habitat includes big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), which constitutes 82–99% of their winter diet and 10–50% of their summer diet. Sagebrush also forms the bulk of hiding cover around burrow sites. Across the range of pygmy rabbits, sagebrush habitat is grazed extensively by cattle. However, grazing has unknown effects on pygmy rabbits inhabiting the remaining, fragmented shrub-steppe habitat. We evaluated the effects of...