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    Author(s): Sara H. Schweitzer; Deborah M. Finch; David M. Leslie
    Date: 1996
    Source: In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 267-276.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
    PDF: View PDF  (167.71 KB)

    Description

    Riparian habitats throughout the Southwest have been altered directly and indirectly by human activities. Many migrant songbird species specific to riparian communities during the breeding season are experiencing population declines. Conversely, the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) benefits from fragmentation of, and livestock grazing in and near riparian habitat. Brood parasitism by cowbirds may accelerate the process of local extirpation of small, remnant populations of migratory songbirds. Cowbird trapping programs have successfully reduced brood parasitism of the Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in riparian habitats of California. This removal technique has not been used commonly in riparian habitats of other states but may be beneficial if a significant problem is identified. Preliminary surveys should be conducted to determine abundance and distribution of cowbirds, and nests of potential hosts should be monitored to assess rate of parasitism. It is not likely that remnant populations of migratory songbirds can sustain parasitism rates greater than 30%. We provide trapping, habitat restoration. and research suggestions to improve management strategies for cowbird host nesting in riparian zones.

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    Citation

    Schweitzer, Sara H.; Finch, Deborah M.; Leslie, David M., Jr. 1996. Reducing impacts of brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds on riparian-nesting migratory songbirds. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 267-276.

    Keywords

    riparian ecosystems, human dimensions, hydrology, ecology, history, restoration

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