Postfledging Survival and Local Recruitment of a Riparian Songbird in Habitat Influenced By Reservoir Operations

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Hepp, M., L. Ware, H. van Oort, S. M. Beauchesne, J. M. Cooper, and D. J. Green. 2018. Postfledging survival and local recruitment of a riparian songbird in habitat influenced by reservoir operations. Avian Conservation and Ecology 13(1):12. DOI: 10.5751/ACE-01190-130112.

Date created: 
Environmental impact assessment
Juvenile survival
Radio telemetry
Setophaga petechia
Yellow warbler

The impact of anthropogenic activities on breeding bird populations are typically assessed using nest success despite the importance of the postfledging period and juvenile survival for the population dynamics of many birds. Using a combination of radio telemetry data collected between 2012 and 2014, and long-term monitoring data collected between 2005 and 2016, we evaluated whether postfledging survival of Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) is affected when their riparian nesting habitat becomes inundated by the Upper Arrow Lakes Reservoir in the Columbia River Valley near Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty-eight percent of radiotagged fledglings (n = 26) survived for at least 21 days after leaving the nest. Radio-tagged birds that fledged from nests in territories that were inundated by water tended to be have lower survival than those that fledged from nests in territories that were not inundated by water. Local recruitment was low (6.4%, n = 438). Local recruitment was nevertheless positively affected by nestling condition prior to fledging. Fledglings from territories that were not inundated by water also tended to be more likely to recruit locally than those that fledged from territories that were inundated by water. In both cases, we estimated that reservoir operations that flooded habitat reduced postfledging survival or local recruitment by approximately 50%. Our study emphasizes the importance of considering the postfledging period when developing mitigation measures or management plans aimed at minimizing the impact of anthropogenic activities on bird populations.

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