David A. Buehler

Ruffed Grouse Reproductive Ecology and Nest Site Selection in Western North Carolina

SEAFWA Journal Volume 2, March 2015

Relatively low fecundity may be responsible for lower Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) populations in the southern Appalachians compared to those in more northern areas of the species ' range. Nutritional stress imposed by poor-quality habitat and greater nest predation have been cited as negative influences on reproduction in the region. We monitored 56 female grouse during the reproductive season in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, 1999 - 2004, to measure reproductive success and evaluate cover used for nesting. Nests (n = 44) were located to determine fate and habitat...


Ruffed Grouse Survival and Population Structure in Western North Carolina

Sound management of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) populations requires an understanding of survival and cause-specific mortality; however, these parameters have not been investigated at the southern extent of the species' range. Ruffed grouse were studied in the mountains of western North Carolina. Grouse (n = 276) were radiotagged and monitored >3 times/week. Mean annual survival was greater than reports from the northern core of the species' range. Seasonal survival was greatest in summer, followed by fall, winter, and spring. Of 155 mortalities, the greatest proportion was...


Use of Spring Drumming Counts to Index Ruffed Grouse Populations in the Southern Appalachians

We studied ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) drumming behavior in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. We conducted drumming counts from late March through mid-April 2002-2004. Concurrent with drumming counts, radio-tagged males (N = 30) were monitored to determine proportion of males drumming. Drumming activity increased from late March (20% of males drumming) to a peak in mid-April (56%-69% of males drumming). Consistent drumming coincided with mean nest initiation date by females (12 April, N = 44). Drumming count results were related to fall trapping success on the study...


Cooper's Hawk Non-breeding Habitat Use and Home Range in Southwestern Tennessee

There has been considerable interest in the ecology of Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in the Southeast since Stoddard's work in the 1930s on northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) identified Cooper's hawks as one of the key predators on bobwhites. Understanding Cooper's hawk-bobwhite relationships has become increasingly important as bobwhite populations have declined and Cooper's hawk populations have increased over the past 30 years. We studied Cooper's hawk diurnal, non-breeding season habitat selection at Ames Plantation in southwestern Tennessee from November 1999-March 2000...


Drumming Log Habitat Selection by Male Ruffed Grouse in North Carolina

We evaluated ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus drumming logs in western North Carolina to determine criteria used by male grouse in selecting drumming sites. For every drumming log found (N = 34), we selected a random log within the same stand type and with a similar topographic position. We collected data on drumming log characteristics and on vegetation surrounding the drumming site. We found 85% (N = 29) of drumming logs on or near a ridge top in a mature (>40 years old) oak/hickory (Quercus/Carya) or northern hardwood forest stand with a dense mid-story of mountain laurel (Kalmia...


A Geographic Information System to Identify Potential Bald Eagle Breeding Habitat for Southeastern United States Rivers and Reservoirs

A geographic information system was developed for lower Melton Hill Reservoir and the adjoining Clinch River in eastern Tennessee to demonstrate the feasibility of using this tool to identify potential bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) breeding habitat in the southeastern United States. Input variables in the model included land use, forest type, condition and size, distance from water, distance from human development,and acreage of aquatic foraging area. The primary limitation on habitat suitability in the Clinch River-Melton Hill Reservoir area was human development (residential and...


Effects of Scale on Predictive Power of Two Bald Eagle Habitat Models

Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

We examined the role scale plays in determining the predictive power of bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) habitat models. We used a bald eagle roost habitat database that included 35 roost sites and 123 random sites located and characterized on the Chesapeake Bay from 1985-1988. A micro-habitat model, based on 6 micro-scale variables correctly classified 80% of the roost sites. A macro-habitat model, based on 10 macro-scale variables, correctly classified only 63% of the roost sites. A mixed model, incorporating the significant micro- and macro-scale variables, correctly classified 89...