Date of this Version
Martin, J. A., Palmer, W. E., Carroll, J. (2013). Aspects of Northern Bobwhite ecology on South Florida rangeland. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 59, 205-214.
Abstract During 2004 and 2005, we monitored breeding season survival, home range, habitat use, density, and reproduction of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) in the peninsular region of Florida, USA. We radio-tagged 81 birds across a 20-km2 cattle ranch consisting predominately of rotationally grazed pastureland. Birds were radio-tracked three to five times per week until mortality or the transition to nonbreeding season. We found no difference in home range size among the sexes, ages, or their interaction. Mean home range size pooled for years, sexes, and age class was 56.28 ha (±7.87 SE). Home ranges of bobwhites were not distributed among habitats randomly (second order: Λ00.10; 7, 35 df; P00.002). In addition, bobwhites did not use the habitats within their home range at random (third order: Λ00.14, 5, 35 df; P00.02). Estimated seasonal survival was 0.28 (±0.12 SE) and was best explained by the time-dependent model. Reproductive metrics indicated adequate reproduction and values consistent with the bobwhite literature. Bobwhite density (birds per hectare) in 2004 was 0.52 (±0.54 95 % confidence interval [CI]) and 0.75 (±0.51 95 % CI) for 2005. These results suggest that pastureland landscapes managed with rotational grazing can support bobwhite populations, albeit at low densities. More conservation attention should be directed towards improving these systems for bobwhite restoration.