Elder Gonzalez Trejo
Project title: There’s No Place Like Home: An exploration into the habitat management of the Eastern Towhee
Mentor: Stephen J. Brenner and Scott R. McWilliams, PhD.
Abstract: Habitat loss has led to a decline in the population of many Eastern Towhees (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), a migratory, early-succesional forest bird that breeds through the northeastern United States. With funding already being provided to aid conservation efforts for the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), an opportunity exists for other early-successional forest birds to benefit. For this study the Eastern Towhee’s movements were tracked during the breeding season using a method called VHF Radio Telemetry. Using the statistical program (R), locations were mapped using the minimum convex polygon method to represent the entirety of the post-nesting Home Range of the adult Eastern Towhees, as well as their fledglings. Home range sizes were greater in an ‘Optimal’ landscape compared to a ‘Sub-optimal’ landscape. The interpretation being that if more suitable habitat is created via landscape management, birds will indeed use that space, and by extension, the resources within that habitat. As a result, our data supported previous research and confirmed that management for early-successional forest habitat is necessary for Eastern Towhee conservation.