Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Robert B. Hamilton
We confirmed the breeding-season presence of 52 bird species and assessed the reproductive quality of a fragmented southern pine forest managed for natural resource extraction on Barksdale Air Force Base in northwest Louisiana, USA. We also conducted point counts to assess relative abundance, richness, and diversity among four habitat discontinuity types (timber harvests, pipeline corridors, access roads, and natural gas wells). Each parameter was greater on study plots adjacent to gas wells than on those adjacent to roads. We determined the fate of 817 nests of 42 species between 1996 and 1998 and determined Mayfield daily nest success (MDNS) for each species with sufficient nests. Half (50.5%) of the 657 open-constructed nests were successful and most (87.4%) failures resulted from predation. MDNS differed among habitat discontinuity types, years of the study, differentially fragmented sectors of the study area, and between interior and edge habitats. MDNS for the full open-nesting community was greater in 1996 than in 1998 and Neotropical migrant MDNS was greater in 1996 and 1997 than in 1998. These differences corresponded with drastic differences in precipitation across the years of the study. Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) and Kentucky Warblers (Oporornis formosus) were most abundant on plots adjacent to recent timber harvests and natural gas wells. Cardinal MDNS was greater adjacent to pipeline corridors and access roads than to timber harvests and natural gas wells. Kentucky Warbler nestling-stage MDNS was greater adjacent to timber harvests, pipelines, and roads, than to wells. Cardinal and Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina ) MDNS was lower for nests located near edges than for those located more than 62.75 m from discontinuities, but results were opposite for Kentucky Warblers. Full-community and Hooded Warbler MDNS was greater in the least fragmented sector of the study area than in the more fragmented sectors. Recent prescribed burning of the understory had no discernible effect on MDNS. Ground and canopy nests had greater MDNS than shrub nests and better-concealed nests of four species had greater MDNS than nests with less concealment. We conclude that MDNS can be positively influenced through management of habitat discontinuities.
Baker, Michael Darren, "Habitat Influences on Nongame Bird Nest Success in a Managed and Fragmented Southern Pine Forest." (2000). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 7316.