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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Optimal Predictor Variables of Urban Hawk Breeding Success

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AUTHORS: Justin White, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

ABSTRACT: Urban habitats in North America can be both resource islands and ecological traps for raptors, but various characteristics of the urban landscape impact individual species differently. The complexity of urban environments make it difficult to identify which variables most impact reproductive efforts. To identify the optimal predictor of Red-tailed Hawk nesting success, I examined eight characteristics of the urban landscape (nightlight, noise level, building height, building footprint, employee density, residential density, an index of overall urban density, and land cover type (agriculture, riparian, impervious, trees, desert shrub)) at four spatial scales for 110 nests in Reno, NV during the 2015-16 breeding seasons. Nests were considered successful if they produced at least one fledgling. Success was calculated using a logistic exposure model with a binomial response and a logistic exposure link function. Models were created with all variable combinations, excluding those that were collinearly related. The final models were chosen based on their Akaike’s Information Criterion scores. The optimal predictor of nesting success was land cover type when measured within a 670-m radius (the nearest-nest midpoint distance) around the nest. Nesting success declined with riparian cover, and increased with desert shrub and agriculture (P<0.05). With large ranges and high dietary generalism these hawks are able to successfully nest atop the complex urban mosaic except when riparian cover dominates their range. Other elements of the urban landscape such as intra- and interspecific competition or localized human actions were not included in this study but may be of critical importance to individual nest success.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

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