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Fragmentation of the landscape by large-scale mining may affect Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) populations by reducing the amount of forested habitat available in a landscape and by creating fragmented forest parches surrounded by reclaimed mine lands. We examined habitat characteristics and relative abundance of Red-shouldered Hawks in reclaimed mine landscapes within four treatments: early-successional grassland habitat, mid-successional shrub/pole habitat, late-successional fragmented forest habitat, and late-successional intact forest habitat. We quantified microhabitat characteristics within an 11.3-m-radius plot centered on 156 vegetation plots throughout the four treatments. We surveyed 48 stations on and adjacent to three mines for Red-shouldered Hawks using standardized broadcast call techniques during February 2000-January 2001 and measured landscape characteristics within 1000-m buffer zones centered on each station from digitized aerial photographs. Mean abundance of Red-shouldered Hawks was significantly higher in the intact forest (x?? = 0.07 detections/ point, SE = 0.03) than the grassland (x?? = 0.01, SE = 0.01) treatment, but did not differ from the fragmented forest (x?? = 0.03, SE = 0.01) or shrub/pole (x?? = 0.03, SE = 0.01) treatments. Most microhabitat characteristics in both fragmented and intact forest differed from shrub/pole and grasslands. Amount of wetland was the most important characteristic determining presence of Red-shouldered Hawks in a forest-dominated landscape. More wetlands in the landscape may provide abundant amphibians and reptiles, which are important in the diet of Red-shouldered Hawks. ?? 2003 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
Additional Publication Details
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) abundance and habitat in a reclaimed mine landscape