The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has a dual mission of maintaining military readiness and stewardship of its natural resources. The DoD invests more than $334 million on land and species management on their properties, which support high levels of biodiversity and harbor a disproportionate number of threatened, endangered, and at-risk species. The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) occurs on 28 DoD installations in the southeastern United States. Because more than 350 species have been documented to use their burrows, the gopher tortoise is considered a keystone species. However, few species of birds have previously been documented as burrow associates. In this study, we compare bird species richness, visitation frequency, and behaviors at gopher tortoise burrows at two Department of Navy properties (Santa Rosa County, Florida) that differed in size, training intensity, habitat diversity, and proportion of habitat suitable for gopher tortoises. We detected a total of 33 species of birds and documented previously unreported behaviors of foraging, dust bathing, and wing-flashing display behaviors at tortoise burrows. Although species richness between sites was not significantly different, frequency of visitation was greater at the site with less military training activity. Our findings underscore the importance of even small military installations in supporting local biodiversity and the need to further explore gopher tortoise burrows as a potential resource for avifauna.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.