For most passerines, survival and behavior during the postfledging period are poorly known, even though these population characteristics are potentially important to demography and conservation. In 2013-2014 radiotelemetry was used to measure survival, movements, and habitat use of juvenile Veeries (Catharus fuscescens) during the postfledgingdependent period in a landscape dominated by mature forest in northeastern Pennsylvania. In total I tracked 29 juvenile Veeries and conducted habitat sampling at sites used by fledglings and at associated random sites. Survival during the first 21 d postfledging was high (0.78), with most mortalities occurring during the first 7 d, and all deaths attributed to predation. Fledglings moved gradually away from their nests as they aged, averaging 333±62 m by 19-21 d. However, there was much variation in movement patterns among individuals, perhaps reflecting differences in spatial distribution of important microhabitats or differences in timing of postfledging dispersal. Like fledglings of many other species of forest passerines, Veery fledglings preferred microhabitats with dense woody understory vegetation: compared to random sites, sites used by fledglings had, on average, greater woody ground cover, midstory cover, and sapling density but had lower density of eastern hemlock trees. However, unlike many other forest passerine species, Veery fledglings did not exhibit broad shifts to other nonnesting habitat types. These results provide the first detailed study of postfledging survival and behavior of the Veery and add generally to our understanding of postfledging ecology in forest passerines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics