Home range and survival of breeding painted buntings on Sapelo Island, Georgia

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By:  and 



The southeastern United States population of the painted bunting (Passerina ciris) has decreased approximately 75% from 1966-1996 based on Breeding Bird Survey trends. Partners in Flight guidelines recommend painted bunting conservation as a high priority with a need for management by state and federal agencies. Basic information on home range and survival of breeding painted buntings will provide managers with required habitat types and estimates of land areas necessary to maintain minimum population sizes for this species. We radiotracked after-second-year male and after-hatching-year female buntings on Sapelo Island, Georgia, during the breeding seasons (late April-early August) of 1997 and 1998. We used the animal movement extension in ArcView to determine fixed-kernel home range in an unmanaged maritime shrub and managed 60-80-year-old pine (Pinus spp.)-oak Quercus spp.) forest. Using the Kaplan-Meier method, we estimated an adult breeding season survival of 1.00 for males (n = 36) and 0.94 (SE = 0.18) for females(n=27). Painted bunting home ranges were smaller in unmanaged maritime shrub (female: kernel (x) over bar = 3.5 ha [95% CI: 2.5-4.51; male: kernel (x) over bar = 3.1 ha [95% CI: 2.3-3.9]) compared to those in managed pine-oak forests (female: kernel (x) over bar = 4.7 ha [95% CI: 2.8-6.6]; male: kernel (x) over bar = 7.0 ha [95% CI: 4.9-9.1]). Buntings nesting in the managed pine-oak forest flew long distances (>= 300 m) to forage in salt marshes, freshwater wetlands, and moist forest clearings. In maritime shrub buntings occupied a compact area and rarely moved long distances. The painted bunting population of Sapelo Island requires conservation of maritime shrub as potential optimum nesting habitat and management of nesting habitat in open-canopy pine-oak sawtimber forests by periodic prescribed fire (every 4-6 years) and timber thinning within a landscape that contains salt marsh or freshwater wetland openings within 700 m of those forests.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Home range and survival of breeding painted buntings on Sapelo Island, Georgia
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 33
Issue 4
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 1432-1439
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
First page 1432
Last page 1439
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