We studied the effects of forest patch size and habitat characteristics on breeding success of Scarlet Tanagers (Piranga olivacea) in western New York in 1995 and 1996. Twenty forest stands were grouped into four size classes: Group I (<10>ha, n = 6), Group 11 (10 to 50 ha, n = 7), Group III (>50 to 150 ha, n = 5), and Group IV (>1,000 ha, n = 2). Group I, II, and III sites were habitat patches located in fragmented landscapes, whereas Group IV sites were located in continuous forests. Although densities of male tanagers were similar in Group II, III, and IV sites, tanagers were absent from all forest patches smaller than 10 ha. Territory size did not differ among males in Group II, III, and IV sites. Pairing success exceeded 75% in all forest size classes in 1995 and 1996, and 100% of the observed males were paired in continuous forest sites. Pairing success differed significantly among forest size classes in 1995 and approached significance in 1996. Fledging success increased significantly with area and was highest (64%) in continuous forest sites. Stepwise multiple regression and principal components analysis indicated that male tanagers breeding in for-est patches with higher canopy cover and lower density of oaks had higher pairing success than males in patches with lower canopy cover and higher density of oaks, and that males breeding in larger forest patches with more surrounding forest cover had higher fledging success than males in small patches with less surrounding forest cover. Our results indicate that: (1) breeding density is not a good indicator of habitat quality for forest-interior Neotropical migrants, and (2) large tracts of continuous forest are important for maintaining populations of these species.
Roberts, Christopher and Norment, Christopher J., "Effects of Plot Size and Habitat Characteristics on Breeding Success of Scarlet Tanagers" (1999). Environmental Science and Ecology Faculty Publications. 11.
Roberts, C. R. and C. J. Norment. 1999. "Effects of Plot Size and Habitat Characteristics on Breeding Success of Scarlet Tanagers." Auk 116(1): 73-82.
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