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The Influence of Predation History on Bobwhite Quail Reproductive Behavior

Will Rogers, Department of Ecology, Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA; Theron Terhune, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32312, USA; Scott Creel, Department of Ecology, Montana State Univerisity, 310 Lewis Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA.

Nesting success is a powerful limiting factor of population growth in many avian species. In landscapes with heterogeneous risk of nest failure, individuals are thought to maximize fitness by selecting nest sites with minimal relative risk.; however, the relationship between nest site selection and the risk of predation remains poorly understood. We analyzed multiple course-scale attributes over successive, within-year nesting events of northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) to answer whether individuals alter nest site selection and reproductive behavior in response to past nest predation. From 2000 to 2017, we documented all instances of within-year, successive nesting attempts by radio-tagged quail (N=342), recording clutch sizes of nests, date of incubation initiation, date of nest failure or hatch, and predation type. We also assigned habitat-level attributes using geospatial methods after data collection. Initial logistic modeling efforts provided evidence that bobwhite quail did not alter habitat selection of second nest sites based on predation of first nests (= 0.282, p-value = 0.772). However, strong behavioral responses to predation were suggested by linear models of shifts in clutch sizes (F(1,275) = 7.624, p-value= 0.006) and distances between first and second nests (F(1,272) = 4.076, p-value = 0.044). We are now using Bayesian resource selection functions coupled with multi-state models to further analyze how nest site selection differs between nesting attempts and if such differences are attributable to predation responses. We will provide the results of current modeling efforts and our conclusions regarding the relationship of nest site selection and predation risk, where we expect that predation of first nesting attempts relates to differences in resource selection of successive nesting attempts.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Will Rogers

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Poster

Subject: Ecology

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4082