Habitat use by golden-cheeked warblers (setophaga chrysoparia) at the Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area, Kendall County, Texas

Date
2016
Authors
Ortiz, Sonia H.
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Abstract

As a result of growing concerns about continued degradation and increasingly fragmented habitat, the golden-cheeked warbler was listed as endangered in 1990. Current knowledge has shown that golden-cheeked warblers may be found in a variety of habitat conditions. Although mature juniper-oak woodlands appear to be the most favorable habitat, historically they may have bred in naturally patchy landscapes. The objectives of this study were to (1) identify marginal and favorable golden-cheeked warbler habitat at the Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area (ABK) and (2) observe and compare habitat use within those habitats. The objectives for the study were accomplished by on-site behavioral observations and determining percent canopy cover to classify habitat types in which golden-cheeked warblers were detected. One hundred sixty-four behavioral observations and 140 detections were recorded during the summer 2014 and 2016 breeding season. The 2014 results were conducted independently by volunteers at the property where the study was conducted, and the data was utilized for this study, along with the 2016 behavioral observations that was conducted specifically for this study. Throughout the sites studied, 71.9% of golden-cheeked warbler detections were in favorable habitat. There were significant differences between habitat quality classifications for this study and the consultant's estimation of habitat quality for the property (P <0.05). This study found that golden-cheeked warblers utilize and raise offspring in marginal habitat. Golden-cheeked warblers were detected in areas where they were not expected to occur based on the results of the consultant. Furthermore, golden-cheeked warblers at the ABK may be localized within small patches of habitat. It appears that canopy cover was a strong predictor of occurrence overall, and greater canopy cover resulted in greater numbers of detections of golden-cheeked warblers.

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Keywords
Golden-cheeked Warbler, Chrysoparia
Citation
Department
Civil and Environmental Engineering