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13 December 2017 Exotic- and native-dominated shrubland habitat use by fall migrating Swainson's Thrushes and Gray Catbirds in Michigan, USA
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The ability to locate high-quality stopover habitat has fitness implications for migrating landbirds, and alteration of stopover habitats due to human land-use change, including the introduction of nonnative plants, has been identified as a conservation concern. We tested whether the use and selection of shrublands dominated by exotic plants differed from that of native-dominated shrublands. Specifically, we compared capture rates, transfer rates between habitats, within-foraging-range habitat selection, and food items of Swainson's Thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) and Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) between exotic- and native-dominated shrublands in Michigan, USA, during fall migration of 2012 and 2013. Capture rates were >20% higher for thrushes and >250% higher for catbirds in native shrubland. Capture–recapture data showed that birds moved from exotic to native shrubland at higher rates than vice versa. For radio-tagged thrushes and catbirds, native shrubland was ∼30% more likely to be used than expected by land cover at the within-foraging-range scale. Thrushes, but not catbirds, avoided exotic shrubs within their foraging ranges. Native Lindera benzoin fruit was >50% more likely to be found in fecal samples from both bird species in native-dominated shrubland than in exotic-dominated shrubland, and was the predominant food item in the former habitat type. Collectively, our results suggest that fall migrating Swainson's Thrushes and Gray Catbirds select, and hence occur at higher densities in, predominantly native shrublands rather than exotic-dominated shrublands. One mechanism for this pattern may be their preference for certain native fruits, such as L. benzoin. Our results suggest that native shrubland may be an especially important stopover habitat for frugivorous birds during fall migration.

© 2018 American Ornithological Society.
Yushi Oguchi, Zachary Pohlen, Robert J. Smith, and Jennifer C. Owen "Exotic- and native-dominated shrubland habitat use by fall migrating Swainson's Thrushes and Gray Catbirds in Michigan, USA," The Condor 120(1), 81-93, (13 December 2017).
Received: 10 February 2017; Accepted: 28 September 2017; Published: 13 December 2017

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