Space Use by Prairie Warblers in Regenerating Mixed-oak Forests of Central Pennsylvania

Marilyn J. Can, Cameron J. Fiss, Darin J. McNeil, Jeffery L. Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Setophaga discolor (Prairie Warbler) is a Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird that is experiencing long-term population declines. A potentially important driver behind these decreases is the loss of shrubland and early successional forest communities in the eastern United States. Central to conservation for species like the Prairie Warbler is an understanding of breeding habitat requirements at the scale of the home range. Despite the Prairie Warbler being identified as a species of continental conservation concern, few studies have explicitly quantified habitat conditions within its home ranges. We used radio telemetry to quantify Prairie Warbler use of space during the breeding season as well as associated vegetation data across 3 study sites in north-central Pennsylvania from May to June 2016. We radio-tracked 11 adult male Prairie Warblers. Using the telemetry locations, we estimated kernel densities and classified minimum convex polygons around kernel densities to define males' home ranges and core-use areas. The average home range (95% kernel) was 6.4 ha, and the average core-use area (50% kernel) was 0.73 ha. Prairie Warbler core-use areas contained more shrubs and lower tree count than peripheral portions of home ranges. To this end, management activities that promote a dense shrub layer across early successional communities should benefit Prairie Warblers. Results from this study serve as baseline data that can be used to help direct future studies at the home-range scale of Prairie Warbler breeding-season ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-848
Number of pages14
JournalNortheastern Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Humboldt Field Research Institute. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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