Forest-dwelling raptors are often difficult to detect because many species occur at low density or are secretive. Broadcasting conspecific vocalizations can increase the probability of detecting forest-dwelling raptors and has been shown to be an effective method for locating raptors and assessing their relative abundance. Recent advances in statistical techniques based on presence-absence data use probabilistic arguments to derive probability of detection when it is <1 and to provide a model and likelihood-based method for estimating proportion of sites occupied. We used these maximum-likelihood models with data from red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) call-broadcast surveys conducted in central Minnesota, USA, in 1994-1995 and 2004-2005. Our objectives were to obtain estimates of occupancy and detection probability 1) over multiple sampling seasons (yr), 2) incorporating within-season time-specific detection probabilities, 3) with call type and breeding stage included as covariates in models of probability of detection, and 4) with different sampling strategies. We visited individual survey locations 2-9 times per year, and estimates of both probability of detection (range = 0.28-0.54) and site occupancy (range = 0.81-0.97) varied among years. Detection probability was affected by inclusion of a within-season time-specific covariate, call type, and breeding stage. In 2004 and 2005 we used survey results to assess the effect that number of sample locations, double sampling, and discontinued sampling had on parameter estimates. We found that estimates of probability of detection and proportion of sites occupied were similar across different sampling strategies, and we suggest ways to reduce sampling effort in a monitoring program.
Additional publication details
Red-shouldered hawk occupancy surveys in central Minnesota, USA