Mountain biking trail use affects reproductive success of nesting Golden-Cheeked Warblers

Craig A. Davis, David M. Leslie, William David Walter, Allen E. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We evaluated foraging and nesting behavior, territory size, and nest success of Golden-cheeked Warblers (Dendroica chrysoparia), a federally endangered songbird, relative to mountain biking trail use. We conducted our study at two mountain biking sites and two control sites at Fort Hood Military Base and in Austin, Texas, in spring 2002 and 2003. Territories of male Golden-cheeked Warblers in biking sites (2.2 ha) were >1.5 times as large as those in non-biking sites (1.4 ha). Mayfield nest success in biking sites (n = 33) was 35% compared to 70% in non-biking sites (n = 22). Nest abandonment was three times greater in biking areas (15%) than non-biking areas (5%). Seven nests were depredated in biking sites, but only two nests were depredated in non-biking sites. Texas rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) were the most frequent nest predator at biking sites, accounting for 71% of the predations. We conducted behavioral observations of male Golden-cheeked Warblers in biking (n = 139) and non-biking (n = 204) sites. Males spent similar amounts of time in diurnal behaviors in biking and non-biking sites. We used video-camera systems to record female nesting behaviors at 17 nests in biking sites and 15 nests in non-biking sites. Nesting behaviors of females did not differ between biking and nonbiking sites. The cumulative effect of disturbance from mountain biking trail use on Golden-cheeked Warbler foraging and nesting behavior appears to be minimal, but fragmentation and alteration of habitat by mountain biking trails may reduce quality of nesting habitat for Golden-cheeked Warblers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-474
Number of pages10
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume122
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Fingerprint

bicycling
man-made trails
reproductive success
nest
mountains
nesting behavior
mountain
nests
foraging behavior
female behavior
songbird
Elaphe obsoleta
foraging
habitat
snake
video cameras
songbirds
fragmentation
habitats
predation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Davis, Craig A. ; Leslie, David M. ; Walter, William David ; Graber, Allen E. / Mountain biking trail use affects reproductive success of nesting Golden-Cheeked Warblers. In: Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 2010 ; Vol. 122, No. 3. pp. 465-474.
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abstract = "We evaluated foraging and nesting behavior, territory size, and nest success of Golden-cheeked Warblers (Dendroica chrysoparia), a federally endangered songbird, relative to mountain biking trail use. We conducted our study at two mountain biking sites and two control sites at Fort Hood Military Base and in Austin, Texas, in spring 2002 and 2003. Territories of male Golden-cheeked Warblers in biking sites (2.2 ha) were >1.5 times as large as those in non-biking sites (1.4 ha). Mayfield nest success in biking sites (n = 33) was 35{\%} compared to 70{\%} in non-biking sites (n = 22). Nest abandonment was three times greater in biking areas (15{\%}) than non-biking areas (5{\%}). Seven nests were depredated in biking sites, but only two nests were depredated in non-biking sites. Texas rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) were the most frequent nest predator at biking sites, accounting for 71{\%} of the predations. We conducted behavioral observations of male Golden-cheeked Warblers in biking (n = 139) and non-biking (n = 204) sites. Males spent similar amounts of time in diurnal behaviors in biking and non-biking sites. We used video-camera systems to record female nesting behaviors at 17 nests in biking sites and 15 nests in non-biking sites. Nesting behaviors of females did not differ between biking and nonbiking sites. The cumulative effect of disturbance from mountain biking trail use on Golden-cheeked Warbler foraging and nesting behavior appears to be minimal, but fragmentation and alteration of habitat by mountain biking trails may reduce quality of nesting habitat for Golden-cheeked Warblers.",
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Mountain biking trail use affects reproductive success of nesting Golden-Cheeked Warblers. / Davis, Craig A.; Leslie, David M.; Walter, William David; Graber, Allen E.

In: Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Vol. 122, No. 3, 01.09.2010, p. 465-474.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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