Sunday, April 27 through Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Marriott Seaview Resort and Spa in Galloway, New Jersey
Wildlife Abstracts(Alpha by First Author Last Name):

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S. Barnum, M. Elbroch, K. Rinehart
Habitat, Highway Features, and Animal-Vehicle Collision Locations as Indicators of Wildlife Crossing Hotspots
Tracking techniques were used along US Rt 2 and NH 115 in the towns of Jefferson and Randolph, NH to record geo-referenced wildlife highway-crossing data for GIS-based analysis. Over 7000 track sets from 20 species were recorded from December 2005 through May 2006. Moose, red fox, white-tailed deer, and coyotes left most tracks. A substantial number of grey fox, fisher, and bobcat were also recorded. This data set is unique in size and the number of carnivores recorded. Preliminary analyses indicate crossing hotspots for moose are not significantly correlated to locations with high moose/vehicle collision rates. Additionally, although some crossing hotspots are used by all species, there are species-specific variations in crossing behavior that can be correlated to highway features, habitat use, and resource availability.

Brian M. Bjorklund, Peter A. Palmiotto, Timothy P. Algeo, Monte D. Chandler, Donald J. Wilda, Dennis Slate, Richard B. Chipman
Food Habits of Raccoons in an Oral Rabies Vaccination Area: an Attempt to Assess Competing Dietary Interests
USDA Wildlife Services has cooperated in the Cape Cod Oral Rabies Vaccination program (CCORV) in southeastern Massachusetts since 2001 (in addition to other ORV campaigns around the nation). This cooperative project (1994-present) was originally designed to reduce the incidence of terrestrial rabies adjacent to the Cape Cod Canal in order to prevent the spread of rabies to peninsular Cape Cod, but is now focused on rabies control since the ORV barrier breach of 2004. An integral component of wildlife rabies control is oral rabies vaccination with vaccine-laden bait packets. Maximizing bait uptake rates is critical for achieving sufficient population immunity to impair the spread of rabies. To that end, knowledge of raccoon food habits, especially at critical ORV bait delivery times (Spring and Fall on Cape Cod) is critical. Consequently, we undertook a food habits study on Cape Cod designed to provide information on seasonal variation in food use. During 2006, we collected intact stomachs from 35 raccoons euthanized for rabies testing or found dead on the road in the CCORV zone for stomach contents analysis. We present preliminary findings, and potential management implications related to the CCORV, with potential applicability elsewhere. Keywords: Cape Cod, food habits, oral rabies vaccination, rabies, raccoon, stomach contents analysis.

Kesha Braunskill, Kevina Vulinec PhD
Seed Dispersal by Feral Horses on Assateague Barrier Island
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland, USA, is a barrier island with a sensitive ecosystem of dynamic sand dunes, stabilized by native grasses. The island is residence to several threatened and endangered plant and avian species. Conservation of the grass community remains an important part of the seashore’s management plan. Managing the feral horse (Equus caballus) population is important because of the negative effects grazing has on plant structure, inflorescence, and ultimately dune morphology. Among other potential large herbivorous seed dispersers, such as sika (Cervus nippon) and white tailed (Odocoileus virginianus) deer, feral horses have inhabited the Island since the 1600’s. The role of feral horses in the dispersal and predation of both native and exotic seeds on barrier islands have not been investigated. The objective of our study is to examine seed dispersal and viability of native grasses and exotic plants by feral horses. Fecal samples were collected from horses and were planted in the Delaware State University greenhouse. We compared to germination times of ingested seeds with that of non-ingested seeds. Our data demonstrate that horses are dispersing seeds at an average of 3.89 seeds per gram of dry fecal material. However, the horses are inhibiting the germination time of at least two species found on the Island including: the native grass Dichanthelium acuminatum, and the exotic but non-invasive species Spergularia marina. Inhibited germination of native and exotic species could hinder their persistence and ultimately alter the ecosystem. In addition, the horses pass viable seeds of Ammophila breviligulata and Spartina patens, which are essential dune building grasses and Spartina alterniflora found in the bayside marshes of the Island. Because horses are considered introduced in the barrier island ecosystem, seed dispersal by this species is an additional management concern.

Jason T. Bried
Creating Temporal Design Options for Animal Surveys via the Law of Diminishing Returns
Many questions arise before, during, and after data collection. Key "before" questions for sampling most animal taxa include how often should surveys be done and how long should the surveys last? Scientists may pull their hair out trying to answer, or will simply avoid stress by picking a magic number. Availability of a standardized set of guidelines would limit the hair-pulling and arbitrary effort, and make independent studies more comparable. The challenge lies in objectively defining such guidelines and building them on sound science. The well-known economic principle of diminishing returns offers an intuitive approach to establishing temporal design options for animal surveys: sample frequently with long surveys, then reduce the data set incrementally and count how many biological units remain. The “units” are likely to be species or occurrences. A table showing unit gains and losses in relation to survey effort becomes a wieldy tool for researchers and managers seeking guidelines in option format. Here I demonstrate the concept with community data on adult Odonata (damselflies, dragonflies).

Paul Capotosto, Roger Wolfe
A Five-Year Assessment of Vegetation Recovery Following Integrated Marsh Management on the Lower CT River
In 2001, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division, Wetlands Habitat and Mosquito Management (WHAMM) Program completed an Integrated Marsh Management (IMM) project on the Lower Connecticut River on three hundred acres of grid ditched, Phragmites-dominated tidal wetlands. Because of the strong, freshwater influence of the CT River, salinities throughout the area ranged from oligohaline to polyhaline, resulting in conditions that favored tidal freshwater vegetation at the north end and salt marsh vegetation closer to Long Island Sound. Phragmites dominated the sites where salinities were less than eighteen parts per thousand. The project included ditch plugging, creation of several pools or ponds, new tidal channels, and Phragmites control via herbiciding and mowing. The work was completed using the WHAMM Program’s low ground pressure equipment and contractors that performed Phragmites control. Following completion, a program was initiated to monitor thirty-three plots established over seven sites. Plots were monitored for water table height, water quality, vegetation recovery and bird use. In 2006, the fifth year, vegetation data was again collected on the seven areas. After year three, it was determined that ditch plugging that resulted in a higher water table did not reduce Phragmites cover. As a result, herbiciding and mowing was implemented to reduce the Phragmites. The data indicate that the response on the seven sites following IMM resulted in vegetation that is typical of brackish marsh vegetation found in other areas of the lower Connecticut River.

Christine Caron
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) Population Status and Habitat Use in Rhode Island
The wintering population of Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) in eastern North America was likely always small, but declined substantially throughout the 20th century. With a hunting prohibition in place since 1990, the species has shown signs of recovery along the Atlantic Coast. To assess the historical status of Harlequin Ducks in Rhode Island (USA), I reviewed Christmas Bird Count records within the state and local survey data collected by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During the winter of 2005-2006, I surveyed Harlequin Ducks at two sites in southern Rhode Island, Beavertail State Park and Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, to assess the size of the current population, evaluate the precision of surveys, and quantify habitat use. The Harlequin Duck population in Rhode Island increased from 1975 to 2005. However, changes in local populations over the last five years suggested a possible redistribution of individuals within the state. In the winter of 2005-2006, 62% of the population was male and all individuals exhibited a strong preference for rocky habitats close to shore. I found significant effects of tide and time of day on the number of individuals observed. Numbers were the highest during low tide morning surveys. Having benefited from the hunting ban, the Harlequin Duck population in Rhode Island contained approximately 150 individuals in 2005-2006 and exhibited sex ratios typical of larger populations of this species on the Pacific Coast. In the future, the most precise estimates of the state population could be obtained by conducting surveys in the morning during low tide at multiple sites throughout the winter. As Harlequin Ducks continue to face threats associated with a variety of human activities, I recommend continued monitoring of this species at known and potential wintering sites in Rhode Island.

Charlotte L. Demers, G. Scott Haulton
Potential Influence of a Hybrid Patch Selection on Small Mammal Communities in a Northern Hardwood Forest
From 2001-2004 we sampled the small mammal community in a 100 acre stand on the Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF), a 6000 hectare research forest in the central Adirondack Mountains of New York. This sampling was part of a case study designed to demonstrate the impact and feasibility of a hybrid patch selection method of forest management. The study site was harvested in the winter of 2002-2003 resulting in 35 0.4 acre clear-cut patches arranged in a grid formation. A total of 14 acres were removed from the stand with thinning (residual basal area of 90ft/acre2) occurring on a portion of the stand. The stand is under a 120 year rotation with 38 additional patches to be cut every 20 years. Small mammals were trapped in two 7 x 7 grids during June or July. Preliminary catch per effort data indicate a change in species composition from pre- to post- harvest based on percentage of total catch. Seven species of small mammal were trapped during the study; five species were trapped both pre- and post-harvest, two were only trapped pre-harvest; woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis) and woodland vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus). Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) exhibited the largest increase (405%) in percent change post harvest, short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) the second largest increase (72%). Sorex species had the largest decrease in percent change (28%) followed by Peromyscus species (13%). Red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi) exhibited almost no change in percentage of total catch (+1%). It is recognized that these changes may reflect natural fluctuations in species populations, therefore long-term data available from HWF will be used to examine these variations and extract the influence of these variations on the catch per effort data.

Anthony J. DeNicola, Lowell A. Miller, James P. Gionfriddo, and Kathleen A. FagerstoneStatus of Present Day Infertility Technology
Researchers have attempted to develop practical wildlife infertility agents for over 3 decades with limited success. Recent focus has been placed on vaccines that target critical reproductive hormones or proteins. The prominent vaccines being evaluated create antibodies to Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) and zona pellucida (zp). Our objective was to determine the relative efficacy and longevity of four “single-injection” vaccines when administered to free-range white-tailed deer. We treated 20 does with SpayVac (zp-based vaccine) in March 2003, 33 does with GonaCon-KLH (GnRH-based vaccine) in February 2004, and 27 does with a modified SpayVac formulation in August 2004 in Princeton, NJ. We also administered GonaCon-KLH to 29 does in Madison, NJ (July 2005) and 15 does received GonaCon-Blue in Newark, DE (August 2005). After one year (2004), only one of 20 (5%) does gave birth after receiving SpayVac. None of the remaining 14 SpayVac-treated does gave birth the second year (2005), and 7 of the 13 (54%) remaining does gave birth the third year (2006). None (n = 16) of the does administered modified SpayVac reproduced in spring 2005. Three of 12 (25%) remaining does in this same treatment reproduced spring 2006. Ten of 26 (38%) remaining does treated with GonaCon–KLH in Princeton reproduced (2005). Eight of 24 (33%) surviving does in Madison NJ reproduced after one year (2006). Five of 14 (36%) surviving does in Newark, DE reproduced after one year (2006). Although there have been promising advancements in infertility technology, considerable improvements are necessary before a practical vaccine will be available.

Amielle A. DeWan, Milo Richmond
Are Two Heads Better Than One? The Costs and Benefits of Multiple Observers for Monitoring Birds
Monitoring programs that track the status of natural resources have become increasingly popular in state and federal agencies, as well as in conservation and non-governmental organizations. In New York State, monitoring trends in wildlife diversity and abundance has become a priority for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Although monitoring can be an important tool for conservation and resource management, many existing programs fail to adequately account for sources of error in population estimation. Specifically, differences in detection between observers, among species, or in varying habitats may significantly influence the overall estimate of abundance. I applied a previously developed technique, the "double-observer approach", to estimate abundance of forest breeding birds for the Hudson River Estuary Program's wildlife monitoring effort. Breeding bird point counts were conducted at random sampling locations (n=55) throughout the Hudson Valley ecoregion between May12-June30, 2006. Each site was visited a total of 3 separate times, with two observers recording all birds seen and heard in a 10 minute period. Models that accounted for differences in detection among species and observers were tested using the program DOBS. Preliminary results suggest that adding an additional observer increases overall detection across species. Differences between observers accounts for the most variation in detection. Overall detection was estimated at p=.987. Although there are some costs in adding additional field personnel and applying statistical models, this study suggests that the double-observer approach may provide more precise and rigorous estimates of abundance.

Duane R. Diefenbach, Nathaniel C. Johnson, Mark A. Ternent, and Howard N. Weiss
Using Fourier and Wavelet Transforms to Analyze Activity Patterns of Female Black Bears
Traditional measurements of animal activity have relied on sampling protocols to obtain data to estimate time-in-activity or duration of activity and generate simple descriptive summaries of daily and seasonal activity patterns. New technologies, however, have enabled continuous monitoring of animals and provide time series of daily and seasonal patterns over months or years. A problem with statistically analyzing these data arises when the time series does not meet the assumptions of Box-Jenkins models (i.e., stationarity) because it contains dramatic shifts or discontinuities in activity. We demonstrate that the windowed Fourier transform and wavelet transform are useful methods of discerning periodic patterns of activity and identifying onset of activities, as well as describing when in time each activity pattern is present. Also, the wavelet transform is useful for de-noising datasets to identify the time at which discontinuities or discrete events occur. We present analyses of activity patterns of female black bears, with and without cubs, to identify periodicities in their daily activity patterns, date of denning, and date of parturition.

Edward K. Faison, Glenn Motzkin, David R. Foster, John E. McDonald
Moose foraging in the temperate forests of Massachusetts
Moose have recently expanded into southern New England after an absence of 200 years. Although moose are well-studied across the boreal forest, almost nothing is known of their ecology, behavior, or potential impacts to temperate forests dominated by oak, red maple, birch, hemlock, and white pine. We investigated winter moose browse on woody plants to evaluate: (1) selective use of tree and shrub species by this herbivore (2) identify site and landscape factors influencing winter foraging and (3) potential impacts to vegetation composition. Two large forested watersheds in central Massachusetts were sampled for moose foraging, habitat features, and disturbances including forest harvesting and human settlement. Chi-square tests were used to identify browse species preferences, and step-wise multiple regression was used to identify habitat variables that are strong predictors of browse intensity. Several hardwoods and hemlock were strongly preferred over white pine. Browse intensity was significantly and positively related to forest harvesting, distance to human settlement, elevation, swamps, and shrub density. Combined, these results suggest that in regenerating harvests, swamps, and some unharvested upland sites, intensive moose browse could increase white pine relative to hardwoods and hemlock. Moose foraging in this predator-depleted landscape is interacting with unprecedented human activities such as dense, stable settlements and widespread forest harvesting and may influence this temperate ecosystem in novel ways.

Neil A. Gifford
Ecosystem Management in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve: Partners in Action to Restore and Manage a Globally Rare Pine Barren
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APB) contains one of the best remaining worldwide examples of an inland pitch pine scrub oak barrens an extremely rare habitat that supports a variety of uniquely adapted plants and animals. In addition to the State and Federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, and State Threatened Frosted Elfin (FE), more than 40 species documented in the preserve are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) for New York State (NYS wildlife action plan). Although the 3,010 acres protected in the APB represents only 0.04% of the 7.5 million acre Upper Hudson Basin (UHB) area targeted in the CWCS, more than two-thirds of the SGCN listed for the entire UHB are documented in the APB. Created by the New York State Legislature, the APB is managed by a commission of local municipal leaders, state agencies, private citizens and The Nature Conservancy. Preserve lands are owned by various Commission members, but managed as a single Preserve. Since 1991 more than 1,000 acres have received prescribed fire treatments, more than 100 acres of non-native invasive black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) have been removed, and KBB/FE habitat restoration has occurred on more than 200 acres. These efforts are benefiting not only for the KBB and FE, whose occupancy and abundance are increasing across restoration sites, but also 16 insects, 14 birds, and 12 reptiles and amphibians listed in the CWCS as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Upper Hudson Basin.

Emily H. Just, Sadie S. Stevens, Thomas L. Serfass, Robert P. Brooks
Effectiveness of Bridge-sign Surveys in Determining the Presence or Absence of River Otters Reintroduced in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania River Otter Reintroduction project was initiated in 1982 to restore extirpated populations of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis). The project has monitored reintroduced populations primarily through sign surveys (detecting scats and latrines). Many states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia, California, Nebraska, and Indiana, have conducted surveys at bridge crossings to detect presence of river otters (Clark et al. 1987, Shackleford and Whitaker 1997, Johnson 2001, Bischof 2002, Breux et al. 2002). However, the efficacy of using bridge-crossing surveys for determining if river otters are occupying a riverine system was not evaluated in these studies. To make this type of assessment, we conducted surveys to detect scats from river otters at 40 “bridge-suites” (all associated with riverine habitats). A “bridge-suite” consisted of a bridge and associated random and selected sites (high quality site based on the presence of riparian habitat variables previously identified as being associated with river otter latrine sites in Pennsylvania – see Swimley et al. 1998 ). The quality of survey reaches were evaluated from aerial photographs and subsequent on-site evaluations. From surveys conducted in Fall 2004 and 2006, scat was documented at 4 (10%) of the bridge sites, 13 (33 %) of the random sites, and 19 (48%) of the selected sites. A similar pattern was detected in Spring 2004 and 2006, with scats being detected at 6 (15%) of the bridge sites, 9 (23%) of the random sites, and 26 (65%) of the selected sites. Our results indicate that scat occurred more frequently at sites selected based on sections of streams containing habitat features previously identified as being associated with river otter latrines in Pennsylvania. Our results suggest monitoring river otters’ distribution using bridge-crossings only may not be an effective method in determining their presence in a water system.

Howard J. Kilpatrick, Andrew M. LaBonte
Suburban Deer Management: a Decade of Community Perspectives
Overabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in suburban communities often lead to increased risk of contracting tick-borne diseases, increased risk of deer-vehicle accidents, and increased damage to landscape plantings. These conflicts between deer and humans in suburban areas often reduce human acceptance or tolerance of deer, which lead to community initiatives to reduce resident deer populations. Our objectives were to document changes in public perceptions about deer herd size and deer impacts to the community, and evaluate changes in human acceptance or tolerance of deer (Cultural Carrying Capacity) in a residential community before and after implementation of a deer management program. Over the past decade, we conducted 4 surveys that targeted all residents in the community. During all surveys, we achieved a 90–98% response rate. Percent of homeowners who believed there were too many deer in the community decreased 60% from before to after the hunt. Percent of residents who experienced damage to landscape plantings decreased 50%, and use of deer damage abatement techniques by residents decreased 40% from before to after the hunt. Reported cases of Lyme disease declined significantly from before to after the hunt and were strongly correlated with reduced deer densities. Most residents supported current deer management efforts. Twenty-nine percent of residents observed hunters in their community during 4 years of hunting and no residents experienced conflicts with hunters. If conflicts with deer persist for extended periods of time, cultural carrying capacity for a community may be extremely low. Even after significant reductions in deer densities and corresponding reductions in incidences of Lyme disease and damage to landscape plantings in the community, changes in CCC are slow to achieve.

Howard J. Kilpatrick, Barbara G. Fijalkowski, Michael A. Gregonis
Ruffed Grouse in Connecticut: Assessment of Hunter Activity and Harvest Distribution
Grouse populations appear to be declining in Connecticut likely due to habitat loss and fragmentation. We surveyed small game hunters to collect baseline data on grouse populations and hunter activities. Our objectives were to determine the number of small game hunters that specifically hunt for grouse and to estimate harvest, hunter effort, success, encounter rates and harvest distribution. A survey was distributed to town halls based on geographic location and license sales. Hunters were requested to complete the survey when purchasing their hunting licenses. Surveys were distributed to 717 hunters in 2004 and 596 hunters in 2005 for a total of 1,313. Survey response rate was 95%. Number of grouse hunters appears to have decreased from 40% (respondents that indicated they had hunted grouse in the past 20 years) to 32% (hunted grouse in the past 5 years). Fourteen percent hunted grouse with hunting dogs. An estimated 17,000 grouse hunters hunted grouse an average of 4-5 times during the 12-week season. Of hunters that made > 1 trip specifically for grouse, 60% harvested no grouse, 30% harvested 1 to 3 grouse, 8% harvested 4 to 6 grouse and 3% harvested 7 to 10 grouse. No hunters harvested > 10 grouse during the season. Most grouse hunters (74%) believed the grouse population was decreasing while 17% believed the population was stable. About half of all grouse hunters agreed with the reduction of bag limit and season length implemented in 2005. Grouse hunter numbers appear to be declining and hunter effort and success appears to be low. Harvest appears to be much higher in specific regions of the state.

Howard J. Kilpatrick, Tanner K. Steeves, Travis J. Goodie, Michael A. Gregonis
Historical and Current Status of New England Cottontails in Connecticut
The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) was listed as a wildlife species of regional conservation concern in the Northeastern United States in 1999 by the Northeast Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee. In 2000, a petition was filed to list the New England cottontail (NEC) as threatened or endangered and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the available data and designated the NEC as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection in September 2006. The NEC is the only native rabbit species found in Connecticut and has an open season for hunting. In Connecticut, limited research conducted over the past 50 years suggests that the distribution and abundance of NECs has declined. This decline has been attributed primarily to habitat loss and fragmentation and possibly competition from eastern cottontails (EC). Our objective was to compare the historical and current distribution of New England and eastern cottontails and examine differences in movement patterns and survival rates between species in Connecticut. Distribution was assessed from cottontail specimens collected from hunter harvest, roadkills, DEP live-trapping efforts, and fecal DNA analysis. Specimen identification was confirmed by examining skull sutures or DNA analysis. Movements and survival were determined by capturing and marking 65 cottontails (27 NEC, 38 EC) with radio transmitters between December 2001 and April 2004. Home ranges (95% probability) and core areas (50% probability) were compared between species among periods (breeding, winter, and hunting). Over a 67-month period (October 2000-September 2006), 1,034 cottontail specimens were collected from 110 towns in Connecticut. Among all methods of collection, 91% of identified specimens were EC and 9% were NEC. Cottontail specimens were collected from 110 of 169 (65%) Connecticut towns. New England cottontails were found in 22 of 110 (20%) towns and eastern cottontails were found in 101 of 110 (92%) towns. Most towns had a limited sample of specimens. All live-trap sites (with >2 captures) where NEC was found, EC also was found. Mean home ranges and core areas were generally larger for NEC than EC during most periods. Although overlap in home ranges existed within and between species, little overlap in core areas existed. Cottontails with larger home ranges tended to experience higher mortality.

Howard J. Kilpatrick, Winona F. Reid, Andrew M. LaBonte
Assessment of Youth Hunters in Connecticut: Opportunities and Roadblocks
Hunting is the principal management tool used to control many species of wildlife, especially deer. As wildlife populations increase, hunting seasons are liberalized to control population growth. Connecticut, along with many other states, appears to be experiencing declines in hunter numbers. Declining hunter numbers may increase the difficulties of managing wildlife populations through hunting. Many states have initiated youth programs such as “Jakes” and have designated youth hunting days to stimulate hunter recruitment. Our objectives were to assess the value of youth hunting day (YHD) and to identify opportunities and roadblocks for youth hunters. We used a mail questionnaire to survey 3 groups of youth hunters (ages 12-15). We sent surveys to youth turkey hunters (n = 315) in May 2005, youth deer hunters (n = 460) in March 2006, and youth graduates of the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) course (n = 355) in March 2006. Survey response rates for all surveys ranged from 80% to 88%. Results showed that 8 of 10 youths that completed the CE/FS course purchased a hunting license and 7 of 10 youths actually hunted in 2005. Youths hunted for deer (62%), pheasant (52%), small game (29%), turkey (18%), and waterfowl (12%). Less than 1 in 3 CE/FS graduates participated in YHDs; of youths that hunted for species that offered a YHD (deer, turkey, pheasant, waterfowl) participation in YHDs only ranged from 40% to 53%. Lack of participation was attributed to youths being unaware of the YHD opportunity (35%), youths having other commitments on YHD (31%), or having no adult available as a mentor (13%). Although 10% of youths had Moms in their family that hunted, most youths were accompanied on YHD by Dads, and all were accompanied by adult males. Harvest per day was 4 times greater for youth deer hunters and 13 times greater for youth turkey hunters on YHD than during the regular hunting season. Youths rated their hunting experience higher for YHD than for the regular hunting season. For youth hunters, seeing game was as exciting as harvesting game. About half of all youths rated being in the woods or with their family as what they liked most about hunting. Being, quiet, still and cold were attributes of hunting least liked by youths. Almost half of all youths believed they had inadequate hunting opportunities. Youths had fewer opportunities to hunt on weekdays compared to weekends and holidays and conflicts between sports and hunting.

David I. King, Jeffrey M. Collins, Jill Liske-Clark
Habitat Use and Reproductive Success of Early-successional Shrubland Birds in Wildlife Openings and Clearcuts in Western Massachusetts
Concern among land managers and conservationists over declines in early-successional migrant bird populations have led to development and implementation of land management activities directed at the creation and maintenance of habitat for these species. Managing old fields to keep them in an early state of succession is one strategy, however maintenance of these “wildlife openings” is labor and equipment-intensive and therefore costly. Some silvicultural treatments also create early-successional habitats, and have the advantage of paying for themselves, however the relative effectiveness of wildlife openings and silvicultural openings for creating bird habitat is not known. During 2004 and 2005, we compared bird abundance, habitat characteristics, and nest success between wildlife openings (n = 7) and clearcuts (n = 5) in western Massachusetts to determine whether the habitat created by these practices are equivalent in terms of bird species composition and nest success. We encountered 3,129 individuals of 78 species during the course of the study, and monitored 368 nests. We found that bird abundance differed between wildlife openings and clearcuts, however species richness was similar between treatments. Overall nest success calculated using the Mayfield estimator was 55%, and did not differ between treatments. Our results indicate that wildlife openings and clearcuts are not equivalent as habitat for early-successional birds, but the two management approaches likely serve as complementary strategies for the maintenance of these declining species.

Stephanie Koch
Spatial Distribution and Abundance of Shorebirds at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) in Chatham, MA, is one of the most important stopover sites for migratory shorebirds in eastern North America. Although the 2,300 ha Refuge supports tens of thousands of shorebirds annually during migration, few quantitative studies have assessed the spatial distribution and abundance of shorebirds on the intertidal flats. From August-September 2005 and April-October 2006, we conducted repeated surveys on 14-25 3-ha plots to assess the phenology and spatial distribution of shorebird use on North Monomoy, South Monomoy and Minimoy Islands. We detected a total of 22 species in 2005 and 21 species in 2006. The most abundant species counted during August and September (>75% of shorebirds in both years) were habitat generalists that were widely distributed on the interidal flats: Sanderlings (Calidris alba), Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) and Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola). Two other species, Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus), were common habitat specialists with clumped distributions. Interannual variation in abundance and distribution among species, and potential factors influencing distributions will be discussed. Gaining a clearer understanding of parameters influencing shorebird distribution will be critical to managers when considering public uses occurring on the Refuge.

Andrew M. LaBonte, Howard J. Kilpatrick
Moose (Alces alces) in Connecticut: Establishment, Expansion, and Future Expectations
The moose (Alces alces), is the largest member of the deer family and is of great interest to wildlife viewers and hunters in North America. Recently, increasing moose populations in northern New England have resulted in the establishment and expansion of moose into southern New England. Expanding moose populations are attributed primarily to the abandonment of agriculture, changes in forest practices, lack of significant predators, and restricted hunting laws, which allowed moose populations to increase in the late 1900’s. Our objectives were to document the establishment of a resident moose population in CT, monitor the spatial and temporal distribution, and develop a minimum population estimate to predict future population growth under different management scenarios. In 1993, the Connecticut Wildlife Division began recording public sightings of moose and moose-vehicle accidents. In 1996, a question regarding hunter observations of moose during the fall hunting season was added to the annual deer hunter survey. In 2004, a moose population model was developed using public sightings of moose. In Connecticut the first moose-vehicle accident occurred in 1995. Since 1995, 10 moose-vehicle accidents have occurred. Of 10 reported moose-vehicle accidents in Connecticut, 8 occurred (80%) in northern Connecticut. The first sighting of a moose cow with calves was reported in 2000. Since 2000, cows with calves have been reported in 12 different Towns. Over the past decade, moose sightings from the public and hunters have increased substantially. Based on public sightings, CT’s moose population was estimated at a minimum of 64 in 2004. Potential population growth was predicted under different management scenarios. If left unmanaged, impacts on the forest ecosystem and increased human conflicts are expected.

Mary S. Lambert, Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay
The Influence of Feral Horse Activity on Aquatic Vibrionaceae Levels Along Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Feral horses (Equus caballus) inhabit portions of the Western United States and some barrier islands along the East coast. One of these populations, approximately 150 feral horses, is located on Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland. Previous studies have publicized that large mammals, such as horses, increase bacteria levels in water; manure entering water resources, directly or through runoff, elevates levels of fecal coliform bacteria and bacteria that can be transmitted to other organisms through water. Vibrionaceae, naturally occurring bacteria in fresh and saltwater systems, contain some pathogenic genera which negatively impact aquatic systems and human health. Increased levels of bacteria and nutrients entering the water are filtered ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa), which can act as an indicator species for Vibrionaceae levels along the Island. This study determined the relationship between Vibrionaceae levels in ribbed mussels and horse activity along Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland. We expected increased Vibrionaceae levels at study sites with higher horse activity levels, due to increased nutrients from runoff and manure. Colony overlay procedure for peptidases was used to identify and enumerate Vibrionaceae levels and GIS data for horse activity was used to determine densities of horses around the study locations. ANOVA determined that there were no significant differences (p= 0.27) in Vibrionaceae levels along the Island; therefore, it is unlikely that horse activity is a major influence in levels of Vibrionaceae.

Zachary Laubach, Uma Ramakrishnan, Dennis Johnson
An Evaluation of Nocturnal and Diurnal Behavior by Male White-tailed Deer using GPS Collar Data
To evaluate the effects of antler restrictions on bucks in Pennsylvania, the PA Game Commission captured and fitted 40 bucks with GPS collars. The aim of the current study was to use the GPS data to compare nocturnal and diurnal movement patterns and home range size and use. GPS collars are substantially more expensive than the traditional radio collars, and we looked to see if the information gathered by the GPS collars provided data that would justify the increased resource investment. We found that radio collars probably underestimated home range size. Using the Random Selection tool in the Movement extension of ArcView 3.2, 40 random location points were selected for each buck, representing a typical sample size collected during telemetry studies. We found that the home range created using the 40-point Random Selection was significantly smaller than the actual home range calculated using the GPS data. Using the daily sunrise and sunset data published by the U.S. Naval Observatory, we compared nocturnal and diurnal records. Nocturnal and diurnal home range sizes did not differ significantly, but habitat utilization did. Bucks spent significantly more time in forested areas during the day, and more time in agricultural land at night. We used the Hawths Analysis Tools for ArcGIS we compared other landscape parameters including distance covered, compactness of range, average gradient and topographic complexity index.

Martin S. Lowney, Jennifer S. Cromwell, and Jeffrey A. Rumbaugh
Management of Beaver Damage to Roads in Virginia
The Wildlife Services (WS) program of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to manage beaver damage to roads and bridges and wetland mitigation sites from January 2001 to March 2006. Adjacent property owners benefited from this program by having beaver damage to property and timberlands mitigated at minimal or no cost. A unique evaluation process required maintenance and environmental engineers with the VDOT and wildlife specialist with WS to conduct joint site and wetland evaluations of road sites where beaver were believed to be causing damage to the roads, bridges, or wetland mitigation sites. Between January 2001 and March 2006 a total of 1,147 sites were evaluated. Most beaver damage to roads and wetland mitigation sites occurred in the coastal plain and the least damage occurred in the ridge and valley physiographic region. At 664 sites the removal of beaver and their dams was implemented. An average of 3 beaver and 1.1 beaver dams were removed per site. Beaver that were removed were taken with body gripping traps (69%), foot traps (10%), snares (12%), and shooting (9%). Removal methods were very specific for beaver which comprised 88% of total harvest from January 2001 to December 2005 and only 12% of animals captured during beaver damage management activities were non-targets. About half the non-target wildlife were released unharmed. Impacts on statewide beaver populations were minimal with only local effects as the statewide population continues to increase or remain stable. Most dams were dug out with potato rakes (95%) and the balance were blown with binary explosives using delay detonators. Beaver dams were removed in compliance with Section 404 Clean Water Act regulatory exemptions or nationwide permit programs. A cost benefit analysis of potential losses avoided to the cost of managing beaver damage yielded a conservative $3.59 saved for every $1 spent on management. Water control devices were recommended once during the 5 year period due to different objectives of adjacent landowners and scientific review which indicated a high rate of failure.

Nikki Panter, James T. Anderson
The Effects of Clearcuts on the Neighboring Avian Community
Timber production is a major land use in West Virginia. Between 1989 and 2003, harvesting almost doubled to one billion board feet per year. As a result, more attention has been given to ecological effects of the increased disturbance of forests. We compared species abundance, richness, diversity, and evenness of breeding birds on 1.5 ha plots to the presence of bordering clearcuts. Forty-eight plots (24 riparian, 24 upland) were established in the MeadWestvaco Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest (MWERF) in Randolph and Barbour Counties of West Virginia. Call counts were conducted along the center line of the 60 x 250 meter plots which were categorized according to number of sides bordered by a clearcut (0, 1, or 2). Count data indicated that certain species were only found in one category. Downy woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens), eastern wood-pewees (Contopus virens), and hermit thrushes (Catharus guttatus) were counted exclusively in plots with neither side neighboring a clearcut. Black-and-white warblers (Mniotilta varia), common yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas), eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina), and yellow-throated vireo (Vireo flavifrons) were found only in plots next to a clearcut on one side. Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) were counted only in plots with clearcuts on both sides. Preliminary analysis of the avian community within the plots suggested that abundance increased with the number of sides bordering a clearcut, while evenness decreased. Species richness and Shannon diversity were greatest when plots had a clearcut on only one side. Results could provide information to help forest managers attain specific goals regarding the suite and abundance of bird species that will be attracted to harvested woodlands.

Peter Paton
Effects of Urbanization on Pool-breeding Amphibians in Rhode Island
Pool-breeding amphibian populations are vulnerable to population declines in urbanizing landscapes because of their metapopulation structure and complex life cycles. We investigated amphibian community structure across a rural-urban gradient in western Rhode Island. We used dip net surveys to quantify the relative density of amphibian larvae at over 120 breeding pools. We assessed the effect of within-pond habitat characteristics and landscape composition at five spatial scales on community structure. Using CART analysis, individual species were affected by a combination of within-pond and landscape-level characteristics. Canopy closure, hydroperiod, and the occurrence of fish were the primary within-pond factors affecting the occurrence of amphibian species. Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) were the only species negatively affected by the occurrence of fish in ponds. At larger spatial scales, coverage by forested uplands and wetlands were most important at landscape scales.

Stacy Pecor, Thomas Seamans, Allen Gosser, and Richard Chipman
An Integrated Canada Goose Management Program
New York State has an estimated population of 195,000 resident Canada geese. Resultant human-goose conflicts include unacceptable accumulation of goose feces in public parks, overgrazing of landscaped lawns, noise and aggressive behavior of individual geese. From 2004 to 2006 an integrated Canada goose management program was conducted and evaluated at 8 sites in Orange County, New York. The program was conducted from March through November each year and consisted of egg oiling, local goose population reduction via hazing using 5 different techniques, public outreach/education, and program monitoring (goose populations surveys, fecal counts, and marking birds with neck collars). Three unmanaged (“control”) sites were monitored to provide a comparison to the managed sites. The number of eggs oiled each year increased slightly over the duration of the project (2004, 300; 2005, 404 eggs; 2006, 473 eggs). The mean number of geese observed at treated sites decreased each year (2004, 77; 2005, 19; 2006, 11) while the mean number at unmanaged sites did not differ (2004, 21; 2005, 24; 2006, 29). The number of droppings counted, when standardized to droppings per foot per day, also decreased at treated sites (2004, 0.16; 2005, 0.12; 2006, 0.05) but did not differ at unmanaged sites (2004, 0.23; 2005, 0.24; 2006, 0.26). This integrated program did reduce the number of Canada geese at specific locations. The location of the majority of dispersed geese is unknown although monitoring of mark birds indicates that many birds moved only short distances (less than 2 km). The widespread adoption of this type of integrated program could result in reduced human-Canada goose conflicts by dispersing birds and ultimately lowering the population of resident Canada geese.

Kerri Pedersen, Thomas J. DeLiberto, Seth R. Swafford, Brandon S. Schmit and Robert H. Beach
Surveillance for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in the United States
Due to concerns that highly pathogenic H5N1 would be introduced into the United States, an interagency strategic plan was developed to enable detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses and to serve as an early warning system. The plan involved cooperation between both USDA, DOI, and state wildlife and agricultural agencies in all 50 states. A national surveillance plan was developed that was stepped down to the flyway and then state level. All 17 states comprising the Atlantic Flyway participated in sample collection and 13 labs in the Atlantic Flyway that are part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network participated in testing of the cloacal and tracheal samples that served as the basis for detection. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa served as the confirmatory lab for all samples testing presumptive positive for H5 or H7 viruses. Hunter killed birds, live wild birds, morbidity/mortality events, sentinel species and birds that were killed as part of pest removal were the collection strategies used for sample collection. Fecal samples were also collected from the ground in each state and these were tested by the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. Each state was given a priority rating which served as the basis for the number of samples to be collected. The target number of samples in the Atlantic Flyway for both USDA-Wildlife Services and the state wildlife agencies was 17,000 fecal samples and 25,200 cloacal/tracheal samples. A review of the Atlantic Flyway results of the 2006 sampling season as well as the direction of sampling efforts for the 2007 surveillance effort will be discussed.

Linh D. Phu
The Maryland Landowner Incentive Program: Partnerships to Restore Habitats for Species at Risk
As development pressure increases and intensifies along the Eastern seaboard and throughout the nation, one of the best tools in conserving our natural resources are various programs that offer funds for on the grounds habitat conservation work. The ability to identify viable sources of funding and to develop partnerships for conservation projects is pivotal in bridging the gap between the valuable natural history work being conducted and the conservation projects aimed at protecting their habitats. In Maryland, the Landowner Incentive Program is working with various partners to design and implement various projects to restore and enhance habitats for various species at risk in the state. This talk will discuss various partnerships for projects including: wetlands restoration for Bog Turtles and rare wetland plants, installation of grasslands for song birds, and enhancements of riparian corridors for aquatic species.

Craig Rhoads, Jake Bowman, Brian Eyler
Movements of Exurban White-Tailed Does During a Controlled Hunt
White-tailed deer have adapted to and thrive in highly fragmented exurban habitats. Little is known about deer responses to controlled hunts, one of the most common methods used for exurban deer population control. Our study investigated responses to controlled hunts of an exurban deer population residing on Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area in Cecil County, Maryland. During the 2005 and 2006 controlled hunts, we collected 1,161 locations on 74 collared does (2005: n = 38, 2006: n = 36) and calculated 1,002 movement distances. Movement rates were greater (P = 0.017) during (444.1m) the controlled hunt than either before (361.6m) or after (345.1m). Period (before, during, after) and location (refuge, non-refuge) interacted (P = 0.008) to affect overall movement rates, with movement rates from non-refuge areas during the hunt being greatest (560.1m). On-stand movements (defined as movements occurring while hunters were on-stand) were greatest (P = 0.027) during the hunt (425.2m). Non-refuge movements (408.9m and 456.4m) were greater (P < 0.001) than refuge movements (261.2m and 307.4m) during both on-stand and off-stand time periods, respectively. The percentage of deer available for harvest decreased from before (2005 = 75.0%, 2006 = 70.1%) to after the hunt (2005 = 50.9%, 2006 = 51.7%). We also documented 17 of 74 (23%) of monitored deer leaving their established annual home ranges in response to hunting pressure, with distances ranging from 0.6 to 3.7 miles outside of established home range boundaries. Our findings suggest that deer exhibit behavioral changes which may have a negative impact on controlled hunt efficacy. Additionally, refuge areas may support a substantial portion of the hunted population, further decreasing controlled hunt efficacy.

Craig Rhoads, Jake Bowman, Brian Eyler
Spatial Ecology of Exurban White-tailed Deer
White-tailed deer have adapted to and thrive in highly fragmented exurban habitats. Little is known about deer responses to controlled hunts, one of the most common methods used for exurban deer population control. Our study investigated responses to controlled hunts of an exurban deer population residing on Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area in Cecil County, Maryland. During the 2005 and 2006 controlled hunts, we collected 1,161 locations on 74 collared does (2005: n = 38, 2006: n = 36) and calculated 1,002 movement distances. Movement rates were greater (P = 0.017) during (444.1m) the controlled hunt than either before (361.6m) or after (345.1m). Period (before, during, after) and location (refuge, non-refuge) interacted (P = 0.008) to affect overall movement rates, with movement rates from non-refuge areas during the hunt being greatest (560.1m). On-stand movements (defined as movements occurring while hunters were on-stand) were greatest (P = 0.027) during the hunt (425.2m). Non-refuge movements (408.9m and 456.4m) were greater (P < 0.001) than refuge movements (261.2m and 307.4m) during both on-stand and off-stand time periods, respectively. The percentage of deer available for harvest decreased from before (2005 = 75.0%, 2006 = 70.1%) to after the hunt (2005 = 50.9%, 2006 = 51.7%). We also documented 17 of 74 (23%) of monitored deer leaving their established annual home ranges in response to hunting pressure, with distances ranging from 0.6 to 3.7 miles outside of established home range boundaries. Our findings suggest that deer exhibit behavioral changes which may have a negative impact on controlled hunt efficacy. Additionally, refuge areas may support a substantial portion of the hunted population, further decreasing controlled hunt efficacy.

Dianna Rodriquez, Timothy Green
The Use Of Mark-recapture to Estimate a Population of Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum) at a Vernal Pool on Brookhaven National Laboratory
Dragonflies are insects of the order Odonata, suborder Anisoptera. Of the 3000 species known world wide, more than 60 species occur in the state of New York. Odonates play a role in maintaining the delicate ecosystem of vernal pools and other bodies of water such as marshes, streams, and wetlands. Tracking and monitoring Odonates can be extremely difficult due to their relatively short lifespan, numerous populations, and extraordinary flight speed. To observe and monitor Odonates, the use of a tracking system is needed to keep accounts of specific species populations. Using a simple form of Mark-Recapture, the Odonates are caught in nets, and marks are drawn on their wings with non water-soluble markers. The marks drawn on the Odonates wings distinguish one individual from another of one species, as well as denoting the pond they were found inhabiting. Each time a dragonfly is caught an additional mark is placed on the wing to note its recapture which in turn will allow us to observe a lifespan by observing the time between initial capture and final recapture, keeping in mind that the final recapture may not necessarily reflect the exact life span, but a rough estimate. During a course of ten weeks, the method of Mark-Recapture was employed and perfected, considering there has been no previously documented use of it on Odonates in the U.S. there was a necessity to perfect the method to optimize results. The first six weeks of the ten weeks studied was spent observing the entire dragonfly population at multiple vernal pools. Once the method of Mark-Recapture was proven to be useful in monitoring individuals of multiple species, the remaining four weeks were spent concentrating on one specific species, the Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum) at one specific pond. From the use of the Mark-Recapture method we have found that the method can be successfully employed on Odonates with positive results. As for successful population estimation, 168 Cherry-faced Meadowhawks were captured with 32 individuals recaptured at least once. Using the program Noremark, two population estimates were generated, one estimate using the numbers of captured and recaptured Cherry-faced Meadowhawks, and one that also added a variable to account for emigration and immigration.

Scott R. Schlossberg, David I. King
Conservation Status of Scrub-shrub Birds in New England
Birds that breed in scrub and early-successional habitats are declining throughout eastern North America. New England harbors significant populations of many scrub-shrub birds, but their habitats are threatened by suburban development and forest succession. While there is much concern for the conservation of this bird community, little consensus exists as to which species should be considered scrub-shrub obligates. Additionally, current trend and population estimates for New England are lacking. Here, we identify the suite of birds associated with scrub-shrub habitats in New England and present new information on their conservation status. We used a meta-analysis of habitat preferences to identify 41 bird species that primarily breed in shrublands. A new analysis of Breeding Bird Survey data showed that 25 of the 41 species have declined in New England since 1966, and 16 species have declined significantly. Over the same time period, only 6 species have increased significantly. Species declining the most rapidly include Northern Bobwhite, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and Black-and-White Warbler. In addition, Yellow-breasted Chat has nearly been extirpated from New England. Trends in bird populations show substantial regional variation. In southern New England, large amounts of habitat have been lost to development and forest succession in recent decades. Population sizes are small in that region, and trends are generally negative. In contrast, industrial forestry creates large amounts of early-successional habitat in northern New England. There, scrub-shrub bird populations are generally stable. Overall, the scrub-shrub bird community is in need of management to reverse population declines, especially in southern New England.

Laura Simon
Solving Beaver Problems Through the Use of Water Flow Control Devices
Once exterminated from large parts of this country, the beaver has made a surprising comeback. However, the beaver’s return is accompanied by a rising number of complaints caused by beaver-created impoundments. Highway departments, homeowners and government officials find themselves confronting costly damage to septic systems, road infrastructures and property as a result of the beaver’s engineering ingenuity. The traditional response has been to trap and remove beavers, yet this solution is often confounded by the perpetual immigration of beavers from the surrounding habitat. In addition, public attitude surveys reflect a growing desire for more “humane” solutions and rank animal suffering as a major determinant of which wildlife management practices are considered acceptable. To meet this growing need, two entities, The Humane Society of the United States and Beaver Solutions, Inc established their own respective programs to help communities and homeowners resolve beaver problems through the use of water flow control devices (WFCDs) which present a relatively new, little known yet innovative concept. WFCDs are designed to control the water level, thereby preventing flooding, while allowing the beavers to remain in their habitat. This paper will describe how WFCDs function, give installation and maintenance tips, and present results of two surveys which respectively assess the effectiveness of water flow control devices in alleviating beaver flooding problems in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Sarah Snyder, Valorie Titus
Home Range Size of the Eastern Box Turtle at Brookhaven National Laboratory: Implications for Iridovirus Transmittance
The discovery of an iridovirus infection in two Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on 2 August 2005 poses a threat to box turtles in surrounding areas since the species is listed as Special Concern in the state of New York. To explore the potential transmission of the iridovirus within the box turtle population, determining individual home range size was necessary. Habitat quality, structure, diversity, individual preference, and population density all account for variation in size and spatial structure of box turtle home ranges. Due to this variability, it was crucial to determine home range size specific to the study area in question. Radio transmitters were attached to 5 box turtles inhabiting the area of iridovirus discovery and their daily movements and habitat preferences were recorded. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was used to digitally map home range area in order to determine individual size variation and the potential for disease spread within the box turtle population. Home ranges of turtles appear to be relatively small but overlapping which suggests favorable conditions for virus spread, depending on encounter rates and mode of transmission.

Glenn E. Stauffer, Duane R. Diefenbach
Site Fidelity and Nesting Success of Grassland Sparrows on Reclaimed Surface Mines in Pennsylvania
Recent abundance surveys have revealed substantial populations of Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows on reclaimed surface mines in western Pennsylvania, even though BBS data indicates steep range-wide declines for both species over the past several decades. This suggests that reclaimed mine habitat may be important habitat for the conservation of these species. We individually marked and resighted birds on a reclaimed mine during 2003-2006 to estimate apparent survival of adult male sparrows, and in 2006 we began a two year study to document nesting success of Grasshopper Sparrows on reclaimed surface mines at four locations. Here we report results from the first year of the nesting study. Apparent survival was 0.4 (CI = 0.30-0.51) for Grasshopper Sparrows and 0.11 (CI = 0.04-0.29) for Henslow’s Sparrows. We modeled daily nest survival rates of Grasshopper Sparrows in program MARK as a function of various site-specific (concealment, vegetation cover, visual obstruction, litter depth, distance to nearest shrub, and nest orientation) and time-specific (precipitation, maximum temperature) covariates, as well as a linear time trend. Daily survival rate (DSR) declined with increasing nest visibility and decreased in general throughout the breeding season. Overall nesting success of Grasshopper Sparrows over the course of the breeding season was 0.47, which compares favorably with estimates from other grassland habitats.

Bronson K. Strickland, John E. McConnell, Jr., Richard B. Chipman, Brian S. Dorr, Scott C. Barras, and Travis DeVault
Nesting Colony Fidelity and Spatial Distribution of Double- crested Cormorants on Lake Champlain Following Population Management
Many regulatory agencies are interested in managing populations of Double-crested Cormorants to minimize damage caused by their nesting in unique island habitats. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department undertook a project to control the nesting population of Double-crested Cormorants on Young Island, Vermont by oiling eggs and culling some adult birds. To investigate how this population would respond to these management activities we attached 60 VHF radio transmitters and 10 satellite transmitters to cormorants nesting on Young Island (managed). For comparison, we attached the same number of transmitters to cormorants nesting on Four Brothers Islands, New York, where no population management occurs. Cormorants radio-marked on Young Island spent an average of 28 and 44 nights on Young Island in 2005 and 2006, respectively; cormorants radio-marked on Four Brothers Islands spent an average of 50 and 39 nights on Four Brothers Islands in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Cormorants radio-marked on Young Island tended to have high nesting colony fidelity early in the nesting season, but fidelity declined substantially after management activities. Alternatively, many cormorants dispersed from Four Brothers Islands immediately following radio attachment, but remaining cormorants demonstrated greater fidelity throughout the nesting season. Cormorants marked with satellite transmitters revealed that some birds are dispersing to the St. Lawrence River and Lac St. Pierre from Lake Champlain. However, this dispersal is not directly attributable to management as birds from both Young (managed) and Four Brothers Islands (unmanaged) dispersed to these areas.

B. P. Tabor, E. Reed
New York State, High Peaks Wilderness Area Bear-Human Conflict Study
New York State, High Peaks Wilderness Area Bear-Human Conflict Study Black bear (Ursus Americanus)/human negative interactions in the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden corridor in the eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area (HPWA) reached an unacceptable level in recent years. In the summer of 2003 Forest Ranger’s reported 170 bear encounters with campers in which the bear either destroyed property (backpacks, tents, etc.), or was successful in obtaining food from campers. A management plan to reduce and monitor bear-human conflict is needed for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) staff. We have utilized multiple approaches to solving the problem; education for the HPWA users, hazing for individual bears causing conflict, research on bear use and movement in the HPWA, and most recently a regulation requiring the use of bear resistant food storage canisters. The implementation of these actions requires the partnership with multiple government entities and non-government organizations. The Department of Environmental Conservation is made up of many divisions and bureaus. The Division of Lands and Forest, Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police, Public Affairs, and Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources share responsibility for the management and use of the HPWA. The Wildlife Conservation Society, Adirondack Mountain Club, and numerous outdoor gear merchants all have been instrumental in educating users and encouraging compliance with the food storage regulation. Working with these groups to form a comprehensive management plan allows us to deal with the complexities of the bear-human conflict. In 2004 there were a 392 reports of bear sightings, most of which were considered negative, in 2005 about 150 reports with many being negative, 2006 has ended with less than 100 reports, and fewer than half were considered negative. (A negative encounter is recorded when food is lost, property damaged, bear enters campsite, or bear acts aggressive toward people.) Our data from three years of bear study suggests that the conflicts between bears and humans in the HPWA have lessened. We plan to continue our education, enforcement, bear management, and progress monitoring for the next two summer seasons.

Patrick Tate, Peter J. Pekins, Mark Ellingwood, John E. McConnell
Depredation and Disease Concerns Associated with Winter Congregations of Wild Turkeys on Dairy Farms in New Hampshire
Depredation and Disease Concerns Associated with Winter Congregations of Wild Turkeys on Dairy Farms in New Hampshire New Hampshire’s wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo sylvestris) population has expanded beyond its historic northern range. Typical winters have prolonged snow cover that reduces mobility, as well as quantity and quality of natural forage. Turkeys in the Connecticut River Valley have adapted by congregating on dairy farms in winter to access supplemental food including standing corn, corn wastage in manure, and silage. This has raised concern among New Hampshire dairy farmers about contamination of silage and possible transfer of Salmonellosis from wild turkey feces to dairy cattle. The objectives of this study were to identify concerns of farmers supporting winter turkey congregations, measure and compare habitat and landscape features on farms with and without congregations, and test for the presence of Salmonella in turkey feces collected at dairy farms in winter. Over half of farms surveyed (n=27) had congregations >50 turkeys, and >30% had 100+ birds. The two primary concerns of dairy farmers were disease (55%) and feed contamination (41%); about half of farms fed turkeys spoilage, left standing corn, or spread manure in an effort to reduce damage to silage. Farmers generally believed that increased hunting and bag limits were the most effective methods to control winter congregations. Distance between food source and roost site was shorter, and distance between food source and both road and residence was longer on farms with congregations, as compared to those without. A total of 260 composite fecal samples were collected on 15 dairy farms during the winters of 2005 and 2006; none tested positive for Salmonella. Appearance and size of congregations varied annually indicating the influence of snow conditions on use of dairy farms. Given the important relationship between winter survival and resources associated with dairy farms, management efforts should focus on regular assessment of winter congregations and their impacts, as well as the relationships between use of dairy farms and location of roost sites, security, and cover.

Valorie R. Titus, Dale M. Madison, Timothy M. Green
Upland Habitat Use and Movements of the Eastern Tiger Salamander on Long Island
Understanding the characteristics of ponds and vernal pools utilized by amphibians, as well as the upland habitats used throughout the year, is essential to the conservation and proper management of these species. The long-term survival of the New York State endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) is of special concern due to rapid development of its last remaining habitats on Long Island. A radio-telemetric study is currently underway at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York. Data were collected from 2004 to 2007 at three pond locations. Forty-one adults and forty-nine metamorphs have thus far been captured and implanted with transmitters. Adult animals spent an average of 47 days and metamorphs 23 days in burrows between surface movements. Single night movements ranged from 7 to 237 m for adults and from 4 to 269 m for metamorphs. Implanted animals have been lost due to predation, loss of transmitter signal, or are still being tracked. Microhabitat use appears to be in areas of low shrub cover with a fairly dense deciduous or mixed pine/deciduous canopy. Based on our findings, we feel that the current 100-foot buffer zone for wetlands and aquatic breeding habitats and the corridors to maintain connections with adjacent areas beyond 500 feet are insufficient to maintain breeding populations of Tiger Salamanders in New York State.

Mark E. Tobin
Forging Research Partnerships to Resolve Wildlife-human Conflicts in the Northeast
Management of birds and mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in the Northeast remains a complex challenge for wildlife management professionals. Many factors contribute to making wildlife management programs in the Northeast unique and often more difficult to implement, including high population densities of humans and urban adapted wildlife; a human altered landscape that often provides wildlife attractants; decreasing human tolerance for nuisance wildlife; increased public, political and media interest; and availability of tools and techniques applicable in a city environment. Sound science- based management requires cooperative research programs that develop tools and methods to meet these unique management challenges. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (WS) program comprises both operational and research components. The WS National Wildlife Research Center works closely with WS Operations to identify priority research needs and to conduct research to develop and evaluate tools for resolving local and regional wildlife damage management issues. This paper provides a brief overview of ongoing research conducted by WS biologists in the Northeast; summarizes the results of a 2006 national survey to identify priority research needs involving human-wildlife conflicts, with emphasis on results that apply to the northeastern U.S.; and suggests areas where WS can partner with state agencies, universities, and non-government organizations in the Northeast to address priority research needs.

Heather Van Den Berg, T. Bruce Lauber
The Role of Print Media Coverage in Informing Public Understanding of Deer Management Issues in New York State
Print media, particularly local and regional newspapers, have the potential to significantly influence deliberations and decisions about community-based deer management. Yet, little is known about the role of newspaper articles in this deer management milieu, aside from anecdotal evidence, while mass communication theories suggest newspapers both reflect and shape public understanding. Before communities recognize deer as a public problem that needs to be addressed, newspaper articles on deer-related impacts or on residents’ attitudes towards deer can thrust deer management into the spotlight. Once communities recognize the need to address deer-related problems, newspaper articles can provide important information for committee members and residents assessing various management options. These newspaper articles can provide information that helps identify management objectives, propose and debate management alternatives, or report outcomes of management actions. We analyzed local and regional newspaper coverage of deer, from 2001-2006 in the state of New York, to determine what information is printed and how it contributes to community-based deer management. We identify additional opportunities where newspaper coverage enables community-based deer management.

Heather Wieczorek Hudenko, Daniel J. Decker, William F. Siemer
Coyotes in Suburbia: The Gap between Public Concern and Likely Risk
As humans and coyotes in suburban communities of New York State increasingly navigate the same space, the potential for negative human-coyote interactions increases. Wildlife managers’ ability to launch a proactive response to this emerging issue is constrained by lack of information about interactions between humans and coyotes in suburban areas. We studied human and biological dimensions of human-coyote interactions in Westchester County, NY to increase understanding of the extent and nature of public experience with coyotes. We conducted semi-structured interviews with key informants (n=42) and a telephone survey of residents (n=1160) in four Westchester towns. The majority of key informants believed area residents were unaware of the presence of coyotes in the county, but we found most (85%) residents were aware of coyotes in Westchester and half (52%) had seen a coyote. The disparity between key informants’ and residents’ perceptions of coyotes has implications for information gathering and communication by wildlife agencies. While few (4%) residents actually experienced problems with coyotes, many expressed concern about potential negative impacts. Preliminary analysis suggests public perception of risk greatly exceeds actual risk from coyotes. We found both an information void and an interested audience, indicating a timely opportunity for educational intervention designed to align perceived threats with objective risk from coyotes. Our study indicates that the potential exists for wildlife agencies and local conservation NGOs to be proactive about retaining "resource" status for coyotes, a species of wildlife that might otherwise join the growing list of "pest" species in suburban areas.

Roger Wolfe, Paul Capotosto
Integrated Marsh Management (IMM): A Holistic Approach to Wetland Restoration and Enhancement in Connecticut
Following a diverse history that ran the gamut of decades of operational mosquito control in Connecticut, to elimination of the state's Public Health Vector Control Program in 1992, to reinstatement in the Department of Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division in 1993, the Wetland Habitat and Mosquito Management (WHAMM) Program promotes the concept of Integrated Marsh Management (IMM) for restoring and managing Connecticut's degraded wetlands and minimizing public health risks caused by mosquito-borne diseases. IMM is a holistic approach to wetland restoration and enhancement utilizing a variety of techniques to achieve site-specific goals. IMM takes into consideration the many aspects of wetlands restoration and management including mosquito control, invasive vegetation management, wildlife habitat enhancement, hydrologic modification, and fill removal. IMM projects can be relatively simple, with goals being achieved through minimal effort and cost while others can be very complex requiring input from many disciplines. IMM projects depend on diligent education and the formation of partnerships to share expertise, equipment and funding. The term, Integrated Marsh Management, is also offered as a means to help alleviate a semantics issue that sometimes occurs among agencies caused by the use (or misuse) of certain terminology used in wetland management such as open marsh water management (OMWM).

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