Kendall Blackmon

P1010006Project title: Eastern Towhee nest survivorship as a declining species in managed early-successional forest

Mentor: Stephen Brenner and Dr. Scott McWilliams,

Abstract: Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) populations have been declining throughout their range in eastern North America over the past 30 years. Along with many other early-successional bird species, the Eastern Towhee has become a focus of conservation concern and efforts, as the population declines have been associated with habitat loss and habitat alteration. Knowledge of nest survivorship and the impacts of location on nest success probability will help determine what management implications are necessary in Rhode Island to maintain and improve Towhee populations. The daily survival rate and nest survival probability of the Eastern Towhee were consistent with other studies done in the same region, as the overall nest survival probability remains relatively low (under 50%). There was a significant correlation between the distance to edges and the overall nest survival probability; nests that were closer to edges were less likely to succeed. Future experiments should track return rates and monitor changes in nest location as it relates to individual success. An example future experiment would be to focus on specific fledgling condition as it relates to adult fitness.