Birds and Land Classes in Young Forested Landscapes
The Open Ornithology Journal
In the Mississippi Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States, we explored relationships among bird spe- cies and vegetation types and landscape characteristics at four different scales. We modeled abundance of priority avian species from Breeding Bird Surveys using land class metrics at 0.24, 1, 3, and 5-km extents. Our modeling method was logistic regression and model selection was based on Akaike's Information Criteria and validation with reserved data. Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), northern parula (Parula americana), Swainson's warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), prairie warbler (Dendroica discolor), hooded warbler (Wil- sonia citrina), and brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) had models containing positive area or core area variables. White-eyed vireo (Vireo griseus) and gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) had models with a combination of area and edge associations at different scales. Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens), red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), and yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens) had positive edge density mod- els. Modeling at different scales produced more complete habitat associations for most species and landscape variables were more influential at larger extents than the smallest extent. Although Mississippi is heavily forested, the landscape is unexpectedly fragmented, with small areal extents of vegetation types. Managers should seek to provide large extents of a variety of habitats, including historically representative vegetation types such as low density pine, to support persistence of a complete suite of avian species.