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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Wednesday, January 30 • 10:40am - 11:00am
(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Post-Fledgling Habitat Selection of an Endangered Species in Texas

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AUTHORS: Evalynn M. Trumbo, Michael P. Ward, Jeffrey Brawn – University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Understanding associations between habitat and the demography of endangered wildlife is essential for effective management, and the age or life-stage of an individual adds complexity to these associations. The Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia; hereafter "warbler"), is an endangered neotropical migrant that breeds only in the contiguous juniper-oak forests in central Texas, of which many studies have evaluated how extensive habitat loss and fragmentation affect adult demography, yet no research has been conducted on post-fledging life stages and their habitat preferences, specifically microhabitat. For birds, the post-fledging stage is critical for sustaining species’ populations and many threats to survival during this life-stage are influenced by habitat type. To understand survival and habitat use, we studied the warbler population at Fort Hood military installation in central Texas. We monitored warbler nests until fledging and deployed one VHF transmitter per nest (n=8 and n=15, for 2017 and 2018, respectively). We tracked fledglings ~4 weeks after fledging. 15 of 23 (65%) of the fledglings survived the observation period. We obtained 1126 vegetation samples measuring various habitat characteristics for the entirety of the study (2017-2018). We compared habitat measurements between fledgling locations and random locations away from the fledgling location. Fledglings appear to select habitat that contains higher canopy cover (86% ± 0.6%, vs. 77% ± 1%). Ground cover, although correlated with canopy cover, differs from non-used habitat (29% ± 0.9%, 37% ±1.05%). Vertical vegetation density in the understory does not differ among used and non-used habitat. Most likely fledglings are selecting for canopy cover since it affords more protection from predators. Using this information for habitat selection will allow managers to implement techniques that promote higher canopy cover in GCWA habitat, hopefully providing a mosaic of necessary traits to support all life stages during the breeding season.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am
CENTER STREET ROOM C

Attendees (2)