Northern Bobwhite Survival and Cause-specific Mortality on an Intensively Managed Plantation in Georgia

Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

We estimated seasonal and annual survival and cause-specific mortality of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) on an intensively managed plantation in Georgia. During 1992-1997, we radio-marked 813 bobwhite and determined causes and temporal patterns of mortality. Annual survival (0.201) did not differ between sexes and was higher than that reported for other populations throughout the Southeast. Yearly variation in annual survival was primarily associated with variation in overwinter mortality. Seasonal survival did not differ between sexes and mortality was equitably distributed throughout the year with fall-spring survival (0.472) similar to spring-fall survival (0.438). Mammalian (0.353) and avian (0.269) predators were the primary sources of mortality. Mean harvest rate on this area was low (0.051). Both overwinter and breeding season survival were higher on our study area than that reported for other populations throughout the Southeast. More importantly, relative to other studies, the seasonal timing of mortality was redistributed from predominantly prebreeding mortality to an equitable distribution between overwinter and breeding seasons. This may have the net effect of increasing breeding population size and total reproductive output. Unlike regional trends, bobwhite populations on this area have remained stable.

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ID
13223