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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Habitat Management For Northern Bobwhite On Reclaimed Surface Mines

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AUTHORS: Jarred M. Brooke,* Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; David C. Peters, Quail Forever; Ashley M. Unger, Oklahoma State University; Evan P. Tanner, Oklahoma State University; Craig A. Harper, University of Tennessee; Patrick D. Keyser, University of Tennessee; Joseph D. Clark, USGS and University of Tennessee; John J. Morgan, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

ABSTRACT: More than 600,000 ha of mine land have been reclaimed in the eastern United States, providing contiguous tracts of early successional vegetation that can be managed for northern bobwhite Colinus virginianus. However, habitat quality on reclaimed mine lands can be limited by coverage of invasive species planted during reclamation. We used discrete-choice analysis to investigate bobwhite macro- and microhabitat resource selection on unmanaged and managed units of Peabody Wildlife Management Area, a 3,330 ha reclaimed surface mine in western Kentucky. We used locations from 283 individuals during the breeding season and 136 coveys during the non-breeding season from August 2009 to March 2014. Bobwhite were located closer to shrub cover than would be expected at random throughout the year. During the breeding season, bobwhite on managed units selected areas with lower contagion index values compared to bobwhite on unmanaged units. During the non-breeding season, bobwhite on managed and unmanaged units selected areas with greater shrub-open edge density compared to random. During the breeding season, bobwhite were closer to disked areas (linear and non-linear) than would be expected at random, and selected areas treated with herbicide to control sericea lespedeza Lespedeza cuneata. Bobwhite selected non-linear disked areas and areas treated with herbicide during non-breeding season, but did not select linear disked areas (firebreaks). Bobwhite avoided areas burned the previous dormant season during the breeding season. Bobwhite habitat quality on reclaimed mine lands may be limited by interspersion of shrub cover and coverage of invasive herbaceous vegetation. Management should focus on increasing interspersion of shrub cover. Also, disking and herbicide application should continue to control invasive species and improve the structure and composition of vegetation. Reclaimed mine lands can be an important consideration in the conservation of bobwhite populations.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST