We studied the effects of habitat fragmentation on productivity of Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) and Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) in southern British Columbia in a western riparian ecosystem. Nesting dates were later in isolated habitat patches than in continuous habitat patches for both species. We found no direct evidence that habitat fragmentation decreased productivity in either species. Average fecundity did not significantly differ between continuous (2.54 fledglings for Gray Catbird; 1.78 and 1.67 fledglings for Yellow-breasted Chat in 2002 and 2003, respectively) and isolated sites (1.33 fledglings for Gray Catbird; 1.78 and 0.87 fledglings for Yellow-breasted Chat in 2002 and 2003, respectively). Territory size, as measured by mapping perch locations for breeding adults, was smaller for Yellow-breasted Chats breeding in the Okanagan Valley (0.25 ha) than for chats in mid and high-density southern populations. However, overall fecundity and nest success were similar to more southerly populations. These results suggest that both species can persist in a relatively fragmented ecosystem.
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Vol. 119 • No. 3