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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Use of imprinted northern bobwhite chicks to assess habitat-specific arthropod availability
Year: 2005
Author(s): Smith, M. D., Burger, Jr., L. W.
Source Title: Wildlife Society Bulletin
Source Type: Journal
pages: 596-605
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Arthropoda bundance commonly is used as an index for brood-habitaqt uality for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) chicks. However, conventional arthropod sampling techniques may not measure the abundance of arthropods available to chicks. Human imprinted chicks have been used to jointly measure arthropod abundance and availability; however, no studies have examined potential differences in growth rates and foraging behavior between pen and wild-strain chicks. Likewise, use of internal ligatures has not been tested. We compared growth (g/day) and foraging rates (g/chick/30 minutes) between pen and wild-strain chicks and foraging rates between ligatured and nonligatured chicks. At 9 days post-hatch, pen-strain chicks (LSMEANS=20.315, SE=0.456) weighed more than wild-strain chicks (LSMEANS=17.665, SE=0.556; F1,1013=32.34, P<0.001). Foraging rate did not differ between ligatured (x=0.041, SE=0.007) and nonligatured (x=0.028, SE=0.004) chicks (t38=-1.69, P=0.100). Pen-strain chicks consumed slightly greater dry biomass than wild-strain chicks, but both consumed similar-sized arthropods. Ligatured, commercially produced chicks may serve as a reasonable biological assay for indexing arthropod availability and brood-habitat quality for wild northern bobwhite chicks.