Spot-mapping, or recording locations of observed use by territorial songbirds, is often used to delineate core breeding territories. However, a recent radiotelemetry study in Minnesota found that male Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) occurring in high-density populations used resources outside their spot-mapped territories. We compared differences in space use and quantified vegetation characteristics in territories and home ranges of individual male Golden-winged Warblers that we monitored using both spot-mapping and radiotelemetry. Our study sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia had lower population density than in Minnesota. We recorded 524 telemetry locations among 12 male Golden-winged Warblers in Pennsylvania and 488 telemetry locations among seven males in West Virginia. Telemetry-delineated home ranges (100% and 50% minimum convex polygons [MCPs]) were two to four times larger than spot-mapped territories. Spot-mapped territories had minimal overlap among individual males, but home ranges had extensive space-use overlap in both the number and amount of MCP overlap among several males. Forty percent of telemetry locations were outside of spot-mapped territories. Sapling abundance was greater in home ranges (mean 22.5 saplings ± 2.1 SE) than spot-mapped territories in Pennsylvania (11.8 ± 1.9). In managed pastures of West Virginia, tree abundance was greater in home ranges (7.3 trees ± 0.8) than spot-mapped territories (1.9 ± 0.6). More telemetry locations than spot-mapped locations occurred in forest in both states, and telemetry locations were closer to intact forested edges of shrublands than spot-mapped locations in West Virginia. On several occasions, we observed radiomarked individuals >200 m (maximum of 1.5 km) from their MCP spot-mapped territory boundaries. Why Golden-winged Warblers leave their spot-mapped territories is unknown, but our observations suggest foraging, forays for extra-pair mating, and reconnaissance for postbreeding movements as possible motives. Our results from areas with low Golden-winged Warbler territory densities are similar to patterns reported for a high-density population in Minnesota. Ultimately, spot-mapping alone does not accurately reflect space use of Golden-winged Warblers during the breeding season, nor does it characterize all cover types used even in areas with relatively low territory densities. Current conservation plans for Golden-winged Warblers that are based on habitat characteristics measured within spot-mapped territories or at the landscape scale may not adequately incorporate space use at intermediate spatial scales of clusters of territories or home ranges.
|Title||Space and habitat use by breeding Golden-winged Warblers in the central Appalachian Mountains|
|Authors||Mack W. Frantz, Kyle R. Aldinger, Petra Wood, Joseph Duchamp, Timothy Nuttle, Andrew Vitz, Jeffrey L. Larkin|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Series Title||Studies in Avian Biology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Leetown|