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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R30331

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The Influence of Land-cover Type and Vegetation on Nocturnal Foraging Activities and Vertebrate Prey Acquisition by Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia). Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Datalogger
Burrowing owl
Endangered species
Animal movement
Energetic consumption
Resource selection function
Conservation
Foraging ecology
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Marsh, Alan J
Supervisor and department
Dr. Troy Wellicome - Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Erin Bayne - Department of Biological Sciences
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Cindy Paszkowski - Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Scott Nielsen - Department of Renewable Resources
Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization
Ecology
Date accepted
2012-08-31T13:15:06Z
Graduation date
2012-11
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Studies of habitat selection by foraging animals assume patterns of animal presence correlate with successful foraging, without explicit evidence this is valid. I used GPS dataloggers and digital video recorders to determine precise locations where nocturnally foraging Burrowing Owls captured vertebrate prey. I compared land-cover type selection patterns using a presence-only Resource Selection Function (RSF) to a model that incorporated prey capture locations (CRSF). I also compared net prey returns in each cover type to better measure reward relative to foraging effort. Finally, I measured vegetative conditions at foraging and random locations. The RSF method did not reflect prey capture patterns, and cover-type rankings from this model are inaccurate. Burrowing Owls successfully forage across all cover types, albeit where vegetation is relatively sparse, with highest net energy returns in native grass. Conservation efforts for Burrowing Owls should focus on ensuring heterogeneity of plant heights and densities across the landscape.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R30331
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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