The Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), almost entirely restricted to California, USA, has recently been proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Tricolored Blackbirds historically nested in wetlands, but a large proportion of the population now nests in agricultural grain fields where the crop is ready to harvest before the young have fledged. Since 1991, federal agencies have paid farmers to delay harvesting in an effort to increase nesting productivity. However, the relative nesting success of Tricolored Blackbirds breeding in agricultural fields versus wetlands is unknown. Our objectives were to estimate daily survival rate (DSR) of nests, identify habitat covariates that influence nest survival, and estimate the number of young produced per nest. During 2011–2012, we monitored 1,323 Tricolored Blackbird nests in 12 colonies using small temperature data loggers. We modeled DSR using Program RMark with combinations of the following variables: site, habitat type, nest initiation date, nest height, water depth, nest density, colony population size, year, and the proportion of nearby nests that failed. Nest survival varied greatly (range: 0.024–0.719) but was not explained by habitat type. Nest height and nest density were positively associated with DSR. DSR was lowest midway through the breeding season and declined with colony population size. Number of young produced per nest varied by site, was lowest in intermediate-sized colonies of 1,000–5,000 birds, and was highest in 2011. DSR and number of young fledged per nest were similar in agricultural fields and in wetlands. Our results suggest that Tricolored Blackbirds benefit from policies that allow them to complete their nesting cycle in agricultural fields.
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. 118 • No. 4