Home Range and Habitat Use of Eastern Bluebirds in South Carolina

Adulteastem bluebirds (Sialia sialis) were monitored by radio-telemetry during the breeding (5M:5F) and wintering (5M:5F) seasons to obtain home range and habitat data. All birds used natural cavities on forested land in west-central South Carolina. Mean home range size of breeding season bluebirds was 19.2 ± 4.4 ha (¯x ± SE)for males and 13.7 ± 4.4 ha for females. Wintering season home ranges were 105.9 ± 15.5 ha and 120.8 ± 16.6 ha for males and females, respectively. Home ranges did not differ (P >0.05) by sex but did by season. Mean minimum total distance moved was similar for both sexes and was larger during the wintering season (3,757 ± 229 m) than during the breeding season (1 ,836 ± 698 m). Habitat preference varied by sex and season, but edge and clearcut habitats were always used more than expected. Dense pine stands were never used. Pine stands with open understories were preferred more than those with closed understories. Bottomland hardwoods and beaver ponds were important winter habitats.

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