Nest Survival and Nest-site Selection of Avian Communities in Pinyon-juniper Woodlands Undergoing Thinning Treatments

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This study was proposed in 2018 in collaboration with the New Mexico Migratory Bird Division of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Texas Tech University. The data for this project were collected on the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (NCA) in Lincoln County, NM over the course of three breeding seasons (2019-2021). The Roswell office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) facilitated access and permits to conduct this research. The purpose of this study was to investigate nest survival and nest-site selection for pinyon-juniper specialists breeding at Fort Stanton among control (i.e., unthinned) and treated (i.e., prescription thinning) pinyon-juniper woodlands. We analyzed nest survival rates for 9 species of breeding birds and found no differences in between treated and untreated plots. However, we found several nest-site habitat characteristics associated with nest survival. Additionally, we investigated habitat characteristics associated with selected nest-sites for 7 species of breeding birds. The results are intended to inform land managers on how current management strategies impact the associated bird communities. Results from our study will provide feedback to land managers that are aiming to conserve pinyon-juniper bird communities while meeting the broader objectives of the NCA (National Conservation Area). Two chapters are presented in this thesis to facilitate future publications. Citation guidelines were adopted from the American Ornithological Society per my advisor, Dr. Clint Boal.

Nest-site Selection, Nest Survival, Pinyon-juniper, Avian