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Wednesday, February 8 • 8:20am - 8:40am
Technical Session. Influence of Habitat and Landscape on the Occupancy of Shrubland Birds

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AUTHORS: Kyle Van den Bosch, Michael P. Ward - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Thomas J. Benson, Illinois Natural History Survey, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: In the Midwest, shrublands are often ephemeral habitats resulting from succession of grasslands with infrequent disturbance regimes. Because shrublands are viewed as transitional between grasslands and forests, they are often viewed as undesirable by private landowners and agency personnel.   Nonetheless, there are many species, including numerous species of conservation concern that are dependent on shrubland habitat. To facilitate efforts to create and manage shrublands for conservation priority birds, we set out to understand relationships between habitat (e.g., shrub cover, number of shrub patches, dominance of invasive woody species) and surrounding landscape on the occupancy of shrubland-dependent bird species. We used data collected by the Illinois Critical Trends Assessment Program (CTAP), a monitoring program that has collected data from randomly selected sites throughout Illinois since 1997. We examined occupancy of 25 bird species found in shrublands.  Overall, most shrubland-dependent bird species responded positively to amount of forest, and negatively to amount of row-crops, in the surrounding landscape.  The dominance of invasive woody species was generally not an important predictor for occupancy.  Although most species responded positively to both the number of shrub patches and total shrub cover, some species exhibited negative or peaked responses, suggesting that management for multiple species will require maintenance of a mosaic of different successional stages even within shrublands.  Nonetheless, our findings suggest that targeted habitat management and creation may be an effective mechanism for conserving shrubland bird populations. 

Wednesday February 8, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am CST
Grand Ballroom B

Attendees (6)