Date of this Version
Human–Wildlife Interactions 6(1):30–37, Spring 2012
We monitored site-use and movements of 102 radio-tagged European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) during the winter months at 2 concentrated animal feeding operations (feedlots) in central Kansas. Our research investigated the spatial ecology of wintering starlings as part of a broad epidemiological study on the possible role of starlings in pathogen transmission at feedlots. Site fidelity was 0.677 and 0.552 (days at capture-site per total days tagged) for feedlots A and B, respectively. Minimal exchange (9%) occurred between feedlots A and B and was often followed by a roost-site change. Starlings rarely abandoned the feedlot where they were captured, but we observed 41 (40%) birds that temporarily switched allegiance from their capture sites to other feedlots; the farthest bird was detected 68 km from the capture site. We speculate that the limited frequency of time spent at non-capture-site feedlots could lower the potential for risk of starlings spreading pathogens among feedlots. We suggest management strategies within the feedlot that may reduce starling populations and speculate that this would lower the risk of spreading pathogens among feedlots.