The effects of landscape configuration on nothern bobwhite in southeastern Kansas

by

Brian E. Flock

 B.S., California University of Pennsylvania, 1997
M.S., Emporia State University, 2002

ABSTRACT


Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations in much of the species range have been declining for the last 35 years. I trapped and equipped bobwhite with radio transmitters and tracked them during 2003-2005. I used these data to examine the effects of landscape configuration on survival as well as the habitat association of bobwhite in southeastern Kansas. I used the nest survival model in Program MARK to determine the effects of habitat configuration on weekly survival of radio equipped bobwhite during the Fall-Spring (1 October to 14 April) and the Spring-Fall (15 April to 30 September) at home range and 500 m buffer scales. Individual survival probability for the Fall-Spring period was 0.9439 (S.E. = 0.0071), and the most parsimonious model for the Fall-Spring period at the home range scale was B0 + percent woodland + percent cropland. At the 500 m buffer scale the most parsimonious model was B0 + percent Conservation Reserve (CRP) program land. The weekly survival probability for the Spring-Fall period was 0.9559 (S.E. = 0.0098). At the home range and 500 m buffer scales there were weak associations of habitat to survival during Spring-Fall with the most parsimonious model for both scales B0 + percent other. Using Euclidean Distances to measure distance from animal location to each habitat, I found that habitat selection was occurring during the Spring-Fall (Wilkes = 0.04, F 6,36 = 143.682, P < 0.001) and Fall-Spring (Wilkes = 0.056, F 6,29 = 81.99, P < 0.001). During Spring-Fall bobwhite were associated with locations near cool-season grasses and during Fall-Spring preferred locations near woody cover. Bobwhite also showed habitat selection at a second more refined land use classification level for Spring-Fall (Wilkes = 0.006, F 16,26 = 284.483, P < 0.001) and Fall-Spring (Wilkes = 0.004, F 16,19 = 276.037, P < 0.001). During the Spring-Fall, bobwhites were associated with locations near cool-season grass pastures and roads and during Fall-Spring were associated with locations in close proximity to roads and CRP. Understanding the effects of habitat configuration on bobwhite is an important step in developing a broad-scale management plan.