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The effectiveness of tape playbacks in estimating Black Rail densities

Journal of Wildlife Management

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Abstract

Tape playback is often the only efficient technique to survey for secretive birds. We measured the vocal responses and movements of radio-tagged black rails (Laterallus jamaicensis; 26 M, 17 F) to playback of vocalizations at 2 sites in Florida during the breeding seasons of 1992-95. We used coefficients from logistic regression equations to model probability of a response conditional to the birds' sex. nesting status, distance to playback source, and time of survey. With a probability of 0.811, nonnesting male black rails were ))lost likely to respond to playback, while nesting females were the least likely to respond (probability = 0.189). We used linear regression to determine daily, monthly and annual variation in response from weekly playback surveys along a fixed route during the breeding seasons of 1993-95. Significant sources of variation in the regression model were month (F3.48 = 3.89, P = 0.014), year (F2.48 = 9.37, P < 0.001), temperature (F1.48 = 5.44, P = 0.024), and month X year (F5.48 = 2.69, P = 0.031). The model was highly significant (P < 0.001) and explained 54% of the variation of mean response per survey period (r2 = 0.54). We combined response probability data from radiotagged black rails with playback survey route data to provide a density estimate of 0.25 birds/ha for the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge. The relation between the number of black rails heard during playback surveys to the actual number present was influenced by a number of variables. We recommend caution when making density estimates from tape playback surveys

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The effectiveness of tape playbacks in estimating Black Rail densities
Series title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume
63
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
116-125
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
First page:
116
Last page:
125
Number of Pages:
10