Effects of vegetation, corridor width and regional land use on early successional birds on powerline corridors

Askins, Robert A., Folsom-O'Keefe, Corrine M. and Hardy, Margaret C. (2012) Effects of vegetation, corridor width and regional land use on early successional birds on powerline corridors. Plos One, 7 2 Article No.e31520: e31520-1-e31520-9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031520

Author Askins, Robert A.
Folsom-O'Keefe, Corrine M.
Hardy, Margaret C.
Title Effects of vegetation, corridor width and regional land use on early successional birds on powerline corridors
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0031520
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 2 Article No.e31520
Start page e31520-1
End page e31520-9
Total pages 10
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Powerline rights-of-way (ROWs) often provide habitat for early successional bird species that have suffered long-term population declines in eastern North America. To determine how the abundance of shrubland birds varies with habitat within ROW corridors and with land use patterns surrounding corridors, we ran Poisson regression models on data from 93 plots on ROWs and compared regression coefficients. We also determined nest success rates on a 1-km stretch of ROW. Seven species of shrubland birds were common in powerline corridors. However, the nest success rates for prairie warbler (Dendroica discolor) and field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) were <21%, which is too low to compensate for estimated annual mortality. Some shrubland bird species were more abundant on narrower ROWs or at sites with lower vegetation or particular types of vegetation, indicating that vegetation management could be refined to favor species of high conservation priority. Also, several species were more abundant in ROWs traversing unfragmented forest than those near residential areas or farmland, indicating that corridors in heavily forested regions may provide better habitat for these species. In the area where we monitored nests, brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) occurred more frequently close to a residential area. Although ROWs support dense populations of shrubland birds, those in more heavily developed landscapes may constitute sink habitat. ROWs in extensive forests may contribute more to sustaining populations of early successional birds, and thus may be the best targets for habitat management.
Keyword Rights of Way
Northeastern United States
Shrubland Birds
Reproductive Success
Forested Landscape
Conservation Value
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
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Created: Tue, 22 Jan 2013, 10:46:32 EST by Susan Allen on behalf of Institute for Molecular Bioscience