Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (946 KB bytes)

Title: Management implications of cowbird parasitism on neotropical migrant songbirds

Author: Robinson, Scott K.; Grzybowski, Joseph A.; Rothstein, Stephen I.; Brittingham, Margaret C.; Petit, Lisa J.; Thompson, Frank R.;

Date: 1993

Source: In: Finch, Deborah M.; Stangel, Peter W. (eds.). Status and management of neotropical migratory birds: September 21-25, 1992, Estes Park, Colorado. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. Fort Collins, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service: 93-102

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Populations of brood parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molofhrus afer) have increased to the point where they pose a potential threat to populations of many neotropical migrant songbirds. Because cowbirds mostly feed in short grass (e.g., pastures and lawns) or on bare ground (e.g., row crops), they benefit directly from human activities. Cowbirds commute up to 7 km between feeding areas and habitats where they search for host nests, often favoring forest edge or secondary growth. Several neotropical migrants with restricted geographical ranges are endangered, at least partly as a result of cowbird parasitism (e.g., Kirtland's warbler Dendroica kirtlandii, Black-capped Vireo Vireo atricapillus). Cowbird control using baited decoy traps has reduced the percent of nests parasitized, increased nesting success, and may be essential for the continued survival of these endangered species. It is not clear, however, whether cowbird trapping would be effective at a broader scale in reducing parasitism in extensively fragmented landscapes such as in the Midwest where many neotropical migrants are experiencing very high levels of parasitism. Cowbird trapping should be viewed as a stop-gap measure to protect specific endangered populations. We recommend instead the development of broader-scale approaches, perhaps in combination with local trapping. One approach to controlling cowbirds is landscape-level management such as consolidation of ownership to preserve large tracts, eliminating potential cowbird feeding areas within large tracts, and minimizing edge habitat. A second possible approach is large-scale cowbird eradication at winter roosts, but this approach may be too diffuse to help specific sensitive species or areas with high parasitism levels. Any management plan should be preceded by cowbird monitoring and preliminary data on levels of parasitism.

Keywords: (Molofhrus afer, cowbirds, parasitism, migratory birds, neotropics, Illinois, Missouri

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)

XML: View XML

Citation:


Robinson, Scott K.; Grzybowski, Joseph A.; Rothstein, Stephen I.; Brittingham, Margaret C.; Petit, Lisa J.; Thompson, Frank R. 1993. Management implications of cowbird parasitism on neotropical migrant songbirds. In: Finch, Deborah M.; Stangel, Peter W. (eds.). Status and management of neotropical migratory birds: September 21-25, 1992, Estes Park, Colorado. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. Fort Collins, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service: 93-102

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.