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Common ravens (Corvus corax; ravens) are a behaviorally flexible nest predator of several avian species, including species of conservation concern. Movement patterns based on life history phases, particularly territoriality of breeding birds and transiency of nonbreeding birds, are thought to influence the frequency and efficacy of nest predation. As such, predicting where on the landscape territorial resident and non-territorial transient birds may be found in relation to the distribution of sensitive prey is of increasing importance to managers and conservationists. From 2007 to 2019, we conducted raven point count surveys between mid-March and mid-September across 43 different field sites representing typical sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems of the Great Basin, USA. The surveys conducted during 2007–2016 were used in previously published maps of raven occurrence and density. Here, we examined the relationship between occurrence and density of ravens using spatially explicit predictions from 2 previously published studies and differentiate areas occupied by higher concentrations of resident ravens as opposed to transients. Surveys conducted during 2017–2019 were subsequently used to evaluate the predicted trends from our analytical approach. Specifically, we used residuals from a generalized linear regression to establish the relationship between occurrence and density, which ultimately resulted in a spatially explicit categorical map that identifies areas of resident versus transient ravens. We evaluated mapped categories using independently collected observed raven group sizes from the 2017–2019 survey data, as well as an independent dataset of global positioning system locations of resident and transient individuals monitored during 2019–2020. We observed moderate agreement between the mapped categories and independent datasets for both evaluation approaches. Our map provides broad inference about spatial variation in potential predation risk from ravens for species such as greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and can be used as a valuable spatial layer for decision support tools aimed at guiding raven management decisions and, ultimately, improving survival and reproduction of sensitive prey within the Great Basin.
Webster, Sarah C.; O'Neil, Shawn T.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Coates, Peter S.; Jackson, Pat J.; Tull, John C.; and Delehanty, David J.
"Spatial Modeling of Common Raven Density and Occurrence Helps Guide Landscape Management Within Great Basin Sagebrush Ecosystems,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 15:
3, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol15/iss3/10
Additional FilesWebsterEtAl-Appendix.docx (24 kB)