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Diggins C.A.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Kelly C.A.,Wildlife Diversity Program | Ford W.M.,U.S. Geological Survey
Southeastern Naturalist

Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus (Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel) is a federally endangered subspecies that occurs in high elevation forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Denning sites may be a limiting factor for this subspecies in areas where cavity trees are not abundant or where interspecific competition from other tree squirrels occurs. This shortage can result in use of unusual denning sites, such as subterranean dens. Herein, we report atypical denning habits of radio-collared Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels in southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina from 2008 to 2011 and 2014. Increased knowledge of denning habitats may be beneficial for conservation and habitat management of this subspecies, particularly in sub-optimal or degraded habitats. Source

Newell Wohner P.J.,University of Georgia | Cooper R.J.,University of Georgia | Greenberg R.S.,Smithsonian Institution | Schweitzer S.H.,Wildlife Diversity Program
Journal of Wildlife Management

The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a species of conservation concern throughout its range and the cause of the species' population decline is unknown. We studied diet composition of rusty blackbirds with stable isotope mixing models in suburban landscapes in the southeastern United States. We captured blackbirds in Georgia and South Carolina from 2009 to 2012, and estimated proportions of earthworm, other animals, pecan, and acorn incorporated into individual diets. On the Piedmont Plateau, terrestrial and aquatic earthworms constituted the largest proportion incorporated into the diet (39% ± 2.9; mean ± SD by site and year) and animals other than earthworms (mostly larval invertebrates Odonata and Diptera) constituted 27% ± 12.9. In contrast, on the Coastal Plain, which featured milder winters than the Piedmont, earthworms constituted a lower proportion (19% ± 1.2) of incorporated food items and animals other than earthworms comprised 62% ± 3.3% of the diet. Increased incorporation of earthworms in the diet was related to increased upcoming precipitation and daily maximum temperature. Rusty blackbirds incorporated more tree mast into their diet on the Piedmont Plateau than the Coastal Plain. Increased incorporation of tree mast was related to advancing cold temperature. Mast, including crushed pecans (Carya illinoenensis) and pre-opened small-seeded red oak (Quercus spp.) acorns, is a high-lipid dietary component of blackbirds wintering in colder climates, and is incorporated prior to extreme cold weather. Therefore, planting mast trees, especially lipid-rich pecan, could be used to augment resources in known rusty blackbird wintering hotspots. Maintaining shallowly flooded wetlands with a fluctuating water regime and residential lawns with abundant red oak (Quercus spp.) leaf litter would promote acorn and invertebrate resources including earthworms. © 2015 The Wildlife Society. Source

Harms T.M.,Iowa State University | Kinkead K.E.,Wildlife Diversity Program | Dinsmore S.J.,Iowa State University
Journal of Insect Conservation

Odonates contribute highly to global biodiversity and are considered good indicators of environmental quality, but they are under-studied and quantitative information on their habitat associations is lacking. Our objective was to examine the effects of landscape configuration on site occupancy and movement dynamics of four odonate species in Iowa: Tramea onusta, Epitheca princeps, Pantala flavescens, and Calopteryx maculata. We conducted standardized visual encounter surveys for odonates at 233 public properties in Iowa from 2007 to 2011 and computed landscape variables within a 200, 600 m, and 1 km radius of each surveyed site. Using a robust design occupancy model in Program MARK, we estimated detection probability and site occupancy, site extinction, and site colonization probabilities for each species. We found few significant effects of landscape variables on site occupancy, extinction, or colonization, although landscape variables at 600 m were included in the best model for all species. Detection probability (SE) ranged from 0.30 (0.04) for Pantala flavescens to 0.49 (0.04) for Calopteryx maculata. Our study provides information to aid habitat restoration and management efforts on sites having suitable characteristics in the surrounding landscape and ultimately help conserve odonates. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Source

Meretsky V.J.,Indiana University Bloomington | Brack Jr. V.,Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. | Carter T.C.,Ball State University | Currie R.R.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management

The size and distribution of measurement errors associated with major techniques for estimating numbers of hibernating bats are unstudied, although this is the principle method of enumerating several endangered bat species. However, decisions concerning the listing status of a species under the Endangered Species Act require consistent and accurate estimation of population size and trends. Recent advances in digital photography have improved the ability to produce a quantitative record of the numbers of bats in hibernacula. We surveyed clusters of Indiana bats in a hibernaculum and compared results from counts of digital photographs of clusters to results from 4 variations of visual estimation. We counted bats in photographs using Geographic Information System digitization over the photograph. Total counts from 2 sets of photographs varied by <1.5%. Nonphotographic estimation techniques varied from 76% to 142% of counts from photographs for clusters for which estimation (rather than counting) was used. Where feasible, photography can improve status and trend information for species of concern, permitting more timely and specific management actions. © 2010 The Wildlife Society. Source

Gahbauer M.A.,Migration Research Foundation | Bird D.M.,McGill University | Clark K.E.,201 Rt 631 | French T.,One Rabbit Hill Road | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) population in eastern North America has grown significantly since the early 1980s, especially in urban areas, but few studies have assessed the factors that influence productivity. We reviewed all documented nesting attempts from southern Ontario, Quebec, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania from 1980 through 2006 to evaluate these factors. Of 801 nesting attempts, 663 were successful, producing a total of 1,613 young. Mean productivity ranged from 1.7 young fledged per nesting attempt in New Jersey to 2.9 in Quebec. Peregrines nesting in quarries or on buildings had higher productivity than those using marsh towers or bridges, but productivity did not differ overall between urban and rural sites. Nests with overhead cover had higher productivity than those without, as did nests in trays or boxes compared to sites without any human-provided nesting aids. Peregrines favored nest sites facing east to south, but productivity did not vary significantly with direction. Several adults have contributed disproportionately to the growth of the eastern population, with just 5 females and males accounting for 8% and 9% of all young fledged, respectively. Of 160 documented mortalities, we identified cause of death for 118, with the most common being collisions with buildings (36%), vehicles (9%), aircraft (8%), and power lines (8%). In many urban areas, grounded fledglings are rescued and returned to higher perches. Of 85 individuals from southern Ontario that were rescued, at least 8 have subsequently bred, producing 65 known offspring. Although peregrines have been thriving in eastern cities, continued management effort may be required for them to maintain their level of success, with key measures including provision of appropriately located nest boxes and rescue of grounded fledglings. © 2014 The Wildlife Society. Source

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