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Keywords:

  • Colinus virginianus;
  • habitat management;
  • Iowa;
  • landscape composition;
  • nest success;
  • northern bobwhite;
  • predation;
  • reproduction

Abstract

Range-wide declines in northern bobwhite populations (Colinus virginianus) have been attributed to concomitant loss of breeding habitat. Bobwhite management efforts to restore this habitat resource can be informed by empirical studies of associations between breeding success and multi-scale habitat attributes. We compared bobwhite nest success in 2 southern Iowa landscapes as a function of microhabitat and landscape composition. Lake Sugema Fish and Wildlife Area (LSWA) was managed to promote bobwhite recruitment, and Harrisburg Township (HT) was an adjacent landscape dominated by private agricultural production. Survival rate modeling based on telemetry data provided evidence for age-specific daily nest survival rate. Daily survival rates decreased as nest age increased, but the decline was more severe at HT. Nest survival at LSWA (S = 0.495, SE = 0.103) was nearly twice that on HT (S = 0.277, SE = 0.072). We found no evidence that habitat composition or spatial attributes within 210 m of a nest site significantly influenced nest success. Forb canopy at the nest site had a positive influence on nest success at HT but not at LSWA. We suggest nesting habitat with greater forb canopy cover will increase the opportunity for nesting success in landscapes with limited nesting habitat. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.