We used traditional searching, as well as radio-telemetry, to find 125 Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) nests during 1994?1996 at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, USA. We compared daily nest survival rates for 66 nests of radio-marked birds with 59 nests of birds found through systematic searching. By using radio-telemetry, we found Wood Thrush nests in higher elevation pine habitats, in addition to the more usual hardwood forests with moist soils. We found nests of radio-marked birds farther from streams than nests found by systematic searching. Thirty-two percent of radio-marked birds' nests were found at the tops of slopes, compared to 15% of the nests found by traditional searching. In addition, radio-marked birds generally moved up-slope for re-nesting attempts. Although the distribution of nests found with telemetry and searching varied, daily nest survival did not vary between the two groups. Radio-telemetry provided new information about Wood Thrush nesting habitats. We believe radio-telemetry can be a valuable addition to traditional searching techniques; it has the potential to provide a sample of nests free from a priori habitat biases.
Additional publication details
Use of radio-telemetry to reduce bias in nest searching