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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Influence of native warm-season grasses on northern bobwhite survival on reclaimed mined
Year: 2010
Author(s): Tanner, E., Unger, A., Keyser, P., Harper, C., Morgan, J., Williams, E.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 42
Original Publication:  
Abstract: The decline of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) throughout the speciesí range has led to increased concern for this important game bird. One opportunity to increase habitat for northern bobwhite is by managing reclaimed mined lands. However, dense stands of sericea lespedeza and other non-native invasive species have resulted in unfavorable structure for bobwhite quail on many reclaimed mine sites. We are conducting an assessment of bobwhite populations using banding and radio telemetry on Peabody WMA, a reclaimed coal mine site in western Kentucky. Two units, Sinclair (3,634 ac) and Ken (4,579 ac) were chosen for this study. Key vegetation types have been delineated in GIS: open herbaceous, shrub, and native warm-season grass (NWSG). During the first year of study, a total of 383 birds were collared and monitored, with crude mortality rates of 55% (Sinclair) and 45.5% (Ken). Trapping success on Sinclair was 2.03% and 3.32% on Ken. Of the birds captured during the first year, 152 had usable home ranges and were included in survival analyses. Program MARK was used to analyze influence of NWSG on bobwhite survival during both winter and summer. Based on previously published studies, birds were categorized into groups based on the amount of NWSG within their home range (0-29%, 30-50%, 51-100%). Program MARK was also used to analyze survival rates of nests within NWSG and other vegetation types. Presence of NWSG within a home range affected survival on Ken during summer (ΔAIC = 1.95) and Sinclair during winter (ΔAIC = 1.51), but not on Ken during winter (ΔAIC = 2.64) or Sinclair during summer (ΔAIC = 3.97). Summer survival at Ken was greatest when NWSG composed 30-50% of the home range (83% chance of survival). Small sample size precluded further evaluation of survival patterns for the Sinclair winter group. Daily nest survival within NWSG (96%) was not different than within other vegetation types (94%); however, hatching success was greater within NWSG (21%) than in other vegetation types (11%), possibly indicating a higher recruitment associated with NWSG.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper