Hydrology frequently has been reported as the environmental variable having the greatest influence on Florida snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) populations. Although drought has received the most attention, high-water conditions also have been reported to affect kites. Years of high water generally have been reported to be favorable for nesting, although prolonged high water may be detrimental to sustaining suitable habitat. During 1994 and 1995, southern Florida experienced an extreme high water event. This event enabled us to compare survival, nesting success, number of young per successful nest, and spatial distribution of nesting before, during, and after the event. We found no evidence of an effect (either negative or positive) on survival of adult kites. In contrast, juvenile kites experienced the highest survival during the event, although our data suggest greater annual variability than can be explained by the event alone. We found no evidence of an effect of the high water event on nest success or number of young per successful nest. Nest success was highest during the event in the southern portion of the range but was quite similar to other years, both before and after the event. Our data do indicate a substantial shift in the spatial distribution of nesting birds. During the event, nesting activity shifted to higher elevations (i.e., shallower water) in the major nesting areas of the Everglades region. Nesting also occurred in Big Cypress National Preserve during the event, which is typically too dry to support nesting kites. Thus, our data indicate a potential short-term benefit of increased juvenile survival and an expansion of nesting habitat. However, the deterioration of habitat quality from prolonged high water precludes any recommendation for such conditions to be maintained for extended periods.
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.
Vol. 22 • No. 2