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Why did the chickadee cross the road: Effects of linear habitat gaps on the movements of black-capped chickadees
Jacob Mackenzie Bailey (author)Ken Otter (thesis advisor)Matt Reudink (committee member)Chris Johnson (committee member)University of Northern British Columbia (Degree granting institution)
Master of Science (MSc)
1 online resource (xii, 64 pages)
I present a novel approach utilizing radio frequency identification (RFID) birdfeeders, coupled with playback experiments, to investigate the gap-crossing decisions of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Results from my RFID experiments revealed that the best predictors of gap-crossing behaviors were gap-distance, and vegetation density. Birds were less likely to cross as gap distance increased. As the amount of vegetation within gaps increased, birds were more likely to cross. Playback experiments showed a decrease in gap-crossing behaviour after the RFID sampling period. Because birdfeeders were put out during this time, decreases in gap-crossing propensity suggests that birds may be engaging in a tradeoff between energy reserves and risk taking. Results from both experiments confirm that gaps do restrict movements of wintering black-capped chickadees. I recommend the primary way to increase connectivity for birds in fragmented habitats is to reduce the distance across gaps. Furthermore, increasing vegetation within gaps may also increase connectivity.
Black-capped chickadee--BehaviorRadio frequency identification systems