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Title: Use of protected activity centers by Mexican Spotted Owls in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico

Author: Ganey, Joseph L.; Ward, James P. Jr; Jenness, Jeffrey S.; Block, William M.; Hedwall, Shaula; Jonnes, Ryan S.; Apprill, Darrell L.; Rawlinson, Todd A.; Kyle, Sean C.; Spangle, Steven L.;

Date: 2014

Source: Journal of Raptor Research. 48(3): 210-218.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: A Recovery Plan developed for the threatened Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) recommended designating Protected Activity Centers (PACs) with a minimum size of 243 ha to conserve core use areas of territorial owls. The plan assumed that areas of this size would protect " the nest site, several roost sites, and the most proximal and highly-used foraging areas." The PAC concept remains an important component of the recovery strategy nineteen years later, although use of designated PACs by territorial owls has never been evaluated. We assessed use of PACs for nesting and roosting by Mexican Spotted Owls in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico, using location data obtained during a study of owl demography from 2004-2011. High proportions of both nest and roost locations were located within the PAC boundary for most, but not all, PACs. Many locations outside of PAC boundaries were adjacent to those boundaries, but some occurred .1 km from PAC boundaries. Proportions of roost locations within the PAC also were high for most, but not all, individual owls of both sexes, and in all years of the study. Proportions of locations within PACs remained relatively high for periods of up to 24 yr following PAC establishment, suggesting that owls continued to use these areas over relatively long periods. A number of vacant PACs were recolonized by owls during the study, and these owls also used PAC areas at high levels in most, but not all, cases. It would be desirable to assess PAC use over longer time periods, in other geographic areas, and to incorporate foraging use in such evaluations. In the meantime, however, our results suggest that most resident owls concentrated nesting and roosting activity within designated PAC areas in our study area, that some vacant PACs were recolonized, and that use levels in PACs remained high as long as 24 yr after PAC establishment, suggesting that PACs in this area are providing important habitat for owls.

Keywords: Mexican Spotted Owl, Strix occidentalis lucida, conservation, nest sites, Protected Activity Center, recolonization, roost sites

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Ganey, Joseph L.; Ward, James P., Jr; Jenness, Jeffrey S.; Block, William M.; Hedwall, Shaula; Jonnes, Ryan S.; Apprill, Darrell L.; Rawlinson, Todd A.; Kyle, Sean C.; Spangle, Steven L. 2014. Use of protected activity centers by Mexican Spotted Owls in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico. Journal of Raptor Research. 48(3): 210-218.

 


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