The Relationships Between Wildlife Openings and Avian Use and Abundance in the East Gulf Coastal Plain
Type of Degreethesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Wildlife openings are forest openings created predominately for game species. Many bird species, some of which are exhibiting population declines, utilize openings during the breeding season. Openings can vary in size, shape, edge length, forest type, and management style. Point counts were conducted in openings of 2 study areas in south Alabama. We used occupancy analysis to determine how bird use as well as bird abundance were related to those 5 characteristics of openings. We incorporated detection into our analysis to account for imperfect detections. Bird use for many bird species showed strong relationships to size, edge, and management, while abundance for many species was strongly related to size, shape and management. Forest type did not have strong relationships with either use or abundance. These results may be incorporated into management plans to increase or control species distributions as well as to help maintain abundances of species of interest.