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Nesting and foraging behavior of red-winged blackbirds in stormwater wetlands

January 1, 2007

Stormwater wetlands are a common part of urban and suburban landscapes. These constructed wetlands provide first-order treatment of effluent from roads, parking lots, lawns and other surfaces. They also provide habitat for wetland-associated birds. Thus, there is a concern that birds may be attracted to potentially toxic habitats. This study assesses nesting success and forging behavior of Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) in retention stormwater wetlands based on drainage type. Drainage categories included residential, commercial, and highway sites. Commercial sites had the lowest nesting success and the lowest diversity of invertebrate foods. Mean nest success values for all three types of wetlands, especially for highway drainages, were comparable to published values from natural wetlands. Over two years of study highway ponds collectively served as source populations whereas residential and commercial sites were population sinks in one year and sources in the other. Red-wings using highway sites had the highest foraging efficiency as determined by the frequency and duration of forays. Residential sites had the greatest human disturbance and generally had intermediate-quality habitat and nesting success. We conclude that while stormwater wetlands collect run off and accompanying pollutants, they can still be valuable habitats for nesting birds in urban and suburban areas. We recommend a few management strategies that can increase avian use of these habitats. ?? Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.

Publication Year 2007
Title Nesting and foraging behavior of red-winged blackbirds in stormwater wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s11252-006-0009-0
Authors D. W. Sparling, J. Eisemann, W. Kuenzel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Urban Ecosystems
Index ID 70032921
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse