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1 October 2006 Wildlife Use of Water Catchments in Southwestern Arizona
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Abstract

Construction of water developments has been used as a wildlife-habitat improvement technique in desert environments since the 1940s. Use of water developments by wildlife has been described in anecdotal observations, through water-hole counts, and with triggered still-cameras, but few studies have directly quantified wildlife use. We used video surveillance equipment to document wildlife use of 3 water catchments located in the Sonoran Desert, southwestern Arizona, USA, from June 2000 to November 2003. For each visitation, we recorded time of day, season of use, and activities engaged in, and we correlated visits with temperature and relative humidity. We logged 37,989 observation hours and documented 34 species using the water catchments. Most of the species recorded visited water catchments year-round with use peaking during June and July. The number of visits by nongame species (i.e., bats, raptors, mammalian predators, and rodents) exceeded the number of visits by game species (mule deer [Odocoileus hemionus], doves [Zenaida spp.], and Gambel's quail [Callipepla gambelii]). Visitation frequency for turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), owls, diurnal raptors, mule deer, coyotes (Canis latrans), and other mammalian predators increased with temperature. Most visits culminated in the animal drinking water. Other activities recorded were bathing, consumption of plant material and carrion, and intraspecies and interspecies interactions. We recorded 8 predation attempts: 4 by avian predators and 4 by bobcats (Lynx rufus). Although we documented that a number of species frequented water catchments, our observations do not prove need. However, we believe our observations do provide support for constructing water catchments that can accommodate a wide diversity of species.

CHANTAL S. O'BRIEN, ROBERT B. WADDELL, STEVEN S. ROSENSTOCK, and MICHAEL J. RABE "Wildlife Use of Water Catchments in Southwestern Arizona," Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(3), 582-591, (1 October 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[582:WUOWCI]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 October 2006
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