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Influence of land use and climate on wetland breeding birds in the prairie pothole region of Canada

Forcey, G. M., Linz, G. M., Thogmartin, W. E., and Bleier, W.J., 2007, Influence of land use and climate on wetland breeding birds in the prairie pothole region of Canada: Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie, v. 85, no. 3, p. 421-436.


Bird populations are influenced by a variety of factors at both small and large scales that range from the presence of suitable nesting habitat, predators, and food supplies to climate conditions and land-use patterns. We evaluated the influences of regional climate and land-use variables on wetland breeding birds in the Canada section of Bird Conservation Region 11 (CA-BCR11), the Prairie Potholes. We used bird abundance data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, land-use data from the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, and weather data from the National Climatic Data and Information Archive to model effects of regional environmental variables on bird abundance. Models were constructed a priori using information from published habitat associations in the literature, and fitting was performed with WinBUGS using Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques. Both land-use and climate variables contributed to predicting bird abundance in CA-BCR11, although climate predictors contributed the most to improving model fit. Examination of regional effects of climate and land use on wetland birds in CA-BCR11 revealed relationships with environmental covariates that are often overlooked by small-scale habitat studies. Results from these Studies can be used to improve conservation and management planning for regional populations of avifauna.


Red-winged blackbirds, hierarchical analysis, Cerulean warblers, habitat selection, population-change, spatial scale, abundance, models, conservation, communities

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