Master of Science (MS)
Renewable Natural Resources
Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have been declining throughout their range during the past 30 years primarily because of a result of loss of early successional habitat. Specifically, intensive silviculture practices and reduction in the use of prescribed fire has led to this loss. I studied effects of management practices (selective herbicides, mowing, and prescribed fire) on male and covey distribution, and brood-rearing habitats on Jackson-Bienville Wildlife Management Area (JBWMA). Specifically, I used calling surveys to assess landscape characteristics associated bobwhite distribution. I also measured vegetation and arthropod response, using imprinted bobwhite chicks, pitfalls, and sweep nets, to different habitat manipulations. Male bobwhites were closely associated with early successional habitats, and negatively associated with the proportion of landscape variables associated with 16-29 year old pine stands. Several vegetation characteristics were affected by the use of herbicides, mowing, and burning; however, arthropod response was not similar. Imprinted chicks selected arthropod orders similar to wild chicks, although they did not consume a large quantity of arthropods. These data indicates habitats on JBWMA may not be of the quality needed for brood-rearing. Future research should focus on long-term effects of manipulations (selective herbicides, mowing, and burning) on northern bobwhite populations. Managers should focus on creating early successional habitats across forested landscape, and continue to search for methods to enhance these habitats for northern bobwhites.
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Kitts, Charles Lynn, "Individual and landscape-level effects of selective herbicides, mowing, and prescribed fire on habitat quality for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)" (2004). LSU Master's Theses. 1728.