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Franklin Lakes, CT, United States

Stupik A.E.,University of Connecticut | Sayers T.,29 Mihaliak Road | Huang M.,91 Route 32 | Rittenhouse T.A.G.,University of Connecticut | Rittenhouse C.D.,University of Connecticut
Northeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

Population declines of cavity-nesting birds are being recorded worldwide with degraded habitat, reduced prey availability, and limited nest-site availability implicated as potential causal factors for declines. A possible aid for avian species limited by breeding-site availability is the construction of nest boxes. Although nest boxes are commonly used for Falco sparverius (American Kestrels), little is known about the survival of young from fledging to the onset of migration. Using radiotelemetry, we recorded post-fledging survival and movement of 11 juvenile American Kestrels in northeastern Connecticut from June to September 2013. We used the Kaplan-Meier procedure, adjusted for staggered entry of individuals over time, to estimate daily survival at 0.270 (95% CI 0.01, 0.53) at the onset of migration. Causes of mortality included predation (n = 4 American Kestrels), exposure (n = 2), and unknown (n = 1). During the post-fledging period, the farthest net distance that we recorded for an American Kestrel from its natal box was 16.1 km. The 3 American Kestrels that we tracked from the nest box to the onset of migration demonstrated different patterns: one made a sudden, long-distance movement to a site 8 km away from the nest box; one undertook a series of 1-5-km movements away from the nest box and eventually settled in an area 2 km from the nest box; and one made consistent movements between the nest-box area and sites 1-5 km away. Our results indicate that although many young American Kestrels die within the first month of fledging, those that survive make pre-migratory movements up to 16 km from their nest box. Extending conservation and management efforts beyond the nest-box area may be an important step towards maintaining American Kestrel populations. © 2015, Humboldt Field Research Institute. All rights reserved. Source


Williams S.C.,U.S. Department of Soil and Water | Gregonis M.A.,91 Route 32
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2015

Connecticut (USA) has a volunteer-based, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn rehabilitation program. In 2010 and 2011, 29 apparently orphaned or injured fawns were raised and released at about 3 months of age by licensed rehabilitators at no cost to taxpayers. Our objectives were to compare survival and movements of fawns subjected to 2 different release techniques. Thirteen fawns were soft-released with feed and water provided ad libitum, and the remaining 16 were hard-released into a 2,250-ha block of state forest. Fawns were monitored daily using expandable radiocollars for 30 days and tri- or bi-weekly thereafter. When mortality sensors activated, signs of trauma, struggle, hair, caching behavior, and scats were inspected to determine cause of death, and necropsies were performed in a laboratory for fawns evidently succumbing to sickness or starvation. Hard-release fawns experienced 100% mortality within 35 days. Sources of mortality included coyote (Canis latrans), bobcat (Lynx rufus), vehicles, and pneumonia. Soft-release fawns experienced 69% mortality within 86 days from coyote, vehicles, illegal shooting, and legal archery harvest. The Kaplan-Meier 100-day survival rate for all fawns was 0.138 (SE = 0.064) for both years combined; 86% of fawns were dead within 86 days of release. All fawns exhibited high fidelity to release sites. Some soft-release fawns survived longer by staying proximate to the pen, but in addition to unacceptably high mortality rates, all fawns, regardless of release technique, lacked the behavioral attributes needed by truly wild white-tailed deer to survive to adulthood. © 2015 The Wildlife Society. Source


Kilpatrick H.J.,91 Route 32 | Labonte A.M.,91 Route 32 | Barclay J.S.,University of Connecticut
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

Hunting is the primary tool for managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations. Effectiveness of hunting in suburban areas may be reduced due to limited hunter access to small properties, firearms-discharge laws, and public safety concerns. In Connecticut, USA, hunting over bait on private land was recently legalized to increase harvest opportunities. Our objective was to assess bow-hunter willingness to use bait and effects of bait type, hunter disturbance, time spent hunting, and property size on deer-harvest potential in a suburban landscape. We mailed a prebaiting survey in February 2002 and a postbaiting survey in February 2004 to the same group of hunters. Hunters using bait were more successful and harvested more deer than hunters using no bait. Hunters using bait on small properties observed similar numbers of deer within shooting range as hunters using bait on larger properties. Hunters using bait met their venison needs, whereas hunters using no bait did not meet their needs. Resource managers should implement strategies that increase hunter success when developing urban deer-management programs for communities. © The Wildlife Society. Source


Kilpatrick H.J.,91 Route 32 | Labonte A.M.,91 Route 32 | Barclay J.S.,University of Connecticut
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2011

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have adapted to, and are thriving in, residentialsuburban landscapes. Special hunts, sharpshooting programs, and fertility control efforts have been implemented in residential communities to reduce local deer populations. For these management strategies to be effective, it is important to understand deer movement and behavior patterns in suburban landscapes. Our objectives were to quantify annual and hunt-season home-range size, and evaluate the relationships between landscape characteristics, land-ownership patterns, and deer movements during the autumn hunting season. Much variation in home range size was observed for annual (15.5-173 ha) and hunt-season home range (16.8-120.7 ha) over the 2-yr study. Deer core areas were not characteristically different from home ranges with regards to forest lands or building density, but were different with regards to road density and property density. Deer use of core areas during the day was similar to, or higher than, deer use at night. Most individual properties in deer core areas were <2.8 ha. Under the current set-back distance for firearms hunting (152 m), 31% and 38% of deer had no portion of their home range potentially open to firearms hunting, and 69% and 81% had no portion of their core areas potentially open to firearms hunting in years 1 and 2. Percentage of forest in home range buffers decreased from 66% in year 1 (abundant acorns) to 46% in year 2 (moderate acorns) as deer shifted into residential development. Findings from our study emphasize the value of conducting multiyear studies and incorporating other variables such as mast abundance to improve interpretation of landscape models. The close association of deer core areas with roads suggests that sharpshooting programs that bait and shoot deer from roads may be an effective management option. In suburban landscapes, deer core areas are comprised of many different landowners, limiting hunter access and mobility to deer core areas. No-hunt buffers around buildings should be reduced to levels that increase hunter access to deer core areas, yet maintain reasonable safety zones. © 2011 The Wildlife Society. Source


Kilpatrick H.J.,91 Route 32 | Labonte A.M.,91 Route 32 | Stafford III K.C.,U.S. Department of Soil and Water
Journal of Medical Entomology | Year: 2014

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman), serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis Say), the vector for Lyme disease, human babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. Our objective was to evaluate the degree of association between deer density, tick abundance, and human cases of Lyme disease in one Connecticut community over a 13-yr period. We surveyed 90-98% of all permanent residents in the community six times from 1995 to 2008 to document resident's exposure to tick-related disease and frequency and abundance of deer observations. After hunts were initiated, number and frequency of deer observations in the community were greatly reduced as were resident-reported cases of Lyme disease. Number of resident-reported cases of Lyme disease per 100 households was strongly correlated to deer density in the community. Reducing deer density to 5.1 deer per square kilometer resulted in a 76% reduction in tick abundance, 70% reduction in the entomological risk index, and 80% reduction in resident-reported cases of Lyme disease in the community from before to after a hunt was initiated. © 2014 Entomological Society of America. Source

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