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Movement of Juvenile Songbirds in Harvested Boreal Forest: Assessing Residency Time and Landscape Connectivity

Author(s): Greg W. Mitchell | Ian G. Warkentin | Philip D. Taylor

Journal: Avian Conservation and Ecology
ISSN 1712-6568

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: boreal forest | clearcut forestry | juvenile songbirds | landscape connectivity | movement ecology | post-fledging period

Little is known about juvenile songbird movement in response to timber harvest, particularly in the boreal forest. If clearcut land cover facilitates movement, the availability of resources may increase. However, if clearcut land cover impedes movement, important post-fledging resources may be rendered inaccessible. Using radio telemetry, we tested the hypothesis that regenerating clearcut land cover would affect the movement of recently independent Yellow-rumped Myrtle Warblers (Dendroica coronata coronata) and Blackpoll Warblers (Dendroica striata) differently than forested land cover owing to intrinsic differences in each land-cover type or in how they are perceived. We found that both species moved extensively before migration. We also found that Blackpoll Warblers were quick to exit local areas composed of clearcut land cover and that both species were quick to exit neighborhoods composed of large proportions of clearcut land cover. However, if individuals encountered clearcut land cover when exiting the neighborhood, movement rate was slowed. Effectively, residency time decreased in clearcut neighborhoods and landscape connectivity was impeded by clearcut land cover. Our results suggest that clearcut land cover may represent low-quality habitat for both species during the post-fledging period. Further research is needed to determine if changes in movement behavior associated with landscape structure affect individual condition and higher-level ecological processes.

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Tango Rapperswil

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