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1 March 2006 Breeding Biology and Nest-Site Selection of Red-tailed Hawks in an Altered Desert Grassland
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Abstract

Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) have expanded their range as trees have invaded formerly-open grasslands. Desert grasslands of southern Arizona have been invaded by mesquite trees (Prosopis velutina) since Anglo-American settlement and now support a large population of Red-tailed Hawks. We studied a population of Red-tailed Hawks in an altered desert grassland in southern Arizona. Our objectives were to determine what environmental characteristics influence Red-tailed Hawk habitat selection in mesquite-invaded desert grasslands and to evaluate the habitat quality of these grasslands for Red-tailed Hawks based on nesting density, nest success, and productivity. Red-tailed Hawks had 86% (95% C.I.  =  73–99) nest success and 1.82 young per breeding pair (95% C.I.  =  1.41–2.23). Nesting density was 0.15 (95% CI  =  0.08–0.21) breeding pairs/km2 and the mean nearest-neighbor distance was 1.95 km (95% C.I.  =  1.74–2.16). Red-tailed Hawks selected nest-sites with taller nest-trees and greater tree height and cover than were available at random. Mesquite trees in desert grasslands provide abundant potential nesting structures for Red-tailed Hawks.

Royden J. Hobbs, Stephen DeStefano, and William L. Halvorson "Breeding Biology and Nest-Site Selection of Red-tailed Hawks in an Altered Desert Grassland," Journal of Raptor Research 40(1), (1 March 2006). https://doi.org/10.3356/0892-1016(2006)40[38:BBANSO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 19 July 2004; Accepted: 1 October 2005; Published: 1 March 2006
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