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We investigated the influence of military training on the abundance and behavior of raptors at a military training area in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho during the breeding seasons of 1991a??1994. Raptor counts on military training ranges did not differ when we compared all training days to all non-training days. However, during one period of intensive military training in one breeding season, raptor counts were lower during training than on non-training days. During training, Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) did not alter their behavior on training days. In years when prey numbers were low, falcons, hawks, and eagles perched and flew at low levels less often and flew at higher altitudes more often during training than they did when training did not occur. We observed fewer prey capture attempts on ranges on days with training than on days without training. Specific types of military training activity affected counts of raptors on ranges. The lowest raptor counts were associated with firing of artillery, small arms, and main turret guns or machine guns on tanks. Raptor counts associated with tank preparation (i.e., assembling and loading ammunition), driving, laser training, and convoy traffic were similar to non-training periods.
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Influence of military activities on raptor abundance and behavior