L. Wes Burger, Jr.

Effects of Red-cockaded Woodpecker Management on Bobwhite Relative Abundance

Loss of pine-grassland communities has contributed to declines in populations of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus; hereafter, bobwhite) and red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis; RCW). However, evolving land management priorities on publicly-owned lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) increasingly emphasize restoration of historic cover conditions and habitat for endangered species such as the RCW. These land use changes should benefit pine-grassland species, including bobwhite, but effects are not well understood. Therefore, we monitored abundance and distribution...


Short-term Response of Eastern Cottontails to Prescribed Fire in East-central Mississippi

Prescribed burning is an often used and economical management tool to manage for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus). Although prescribed fire creates and maintains early successional plant communities that benefit cottontails, short-term effects (direct and indirect) of prescribed burning on cottontails are unclear. To document cottontail response to fire, we examined pre- and post-burn home range (HR) and core area (CA) size, post-burn movement rates, and post-burn survival and cause-specific mortality rates for 10 cottontails (...


Surveying Nocturnal Bird Communities of the Southeast with Silent and Playback Methods

Non-game Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

Accurate nocturnal bird abundance and distribution data are necessary for managing nocturnal avian communities. We compared vocalization playback and silent methods for surveying 3 nocturnal avian species in Mississippi in 1997 and 1998. Playback elicited more responses from eastern screech-owls (Otus asio) than the silent method. Playback was more effective than the silent method at detecting habitat associations of eastern screech-owls, which were strongly associated with pine regeneration stands than pine sawtimber stands and pine-hardwood stands. Playback of broadcast vocalizations...


Herbicide and Prescribed Fire as Habitat Management Tools for Northern Bobwhite in Conservation Reserve Program Fields

Kentucky-31 tall fescue (Festuca arundicacea) was a common planting established on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields throughout the southeastern United States during the late 1980s and 1990s. Fescue-dominated grassland communities on CRP fields offer poor quality nesting, brood-rearing, and foraging habitat for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) because of dense vegetation, high litter cover, low bare ground, and low plant diversity. Herbicide applications have been shown to reduce fescue and release early successional plant communities, and therefore may enhance bobwhite...


Delineating Age and Species of Harvested Cottontail and Swamp Rabbits

Age structure of harvested populations is important to wildlife biologists to adequately observe effects of harvest and management regimes. We aged harvested cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and swamp (S. aquaticus) rabbits by eye lens weight. We developed 2 logistic regression equations based on external morphometrics (mass [N=213] and hind foot length [N=209]) to predict age and species. Our model used to delineate species had high correct classification rates (>89%). Hind foot length and mass were significant predictors of age class for both species and correct classification rates...


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...