Buteo swainsoni

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Scientific Name
Buteo swainsoni
Common Name
Swainson's Hawk
Taxa Group
Move Mode

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  • Data package
    Data from: Space use by Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni) in the Natomas Basin, California
    (2017-05-05) Fleishman, Erica; Anderson, Jesse; Dickson, Brett G.; Krolick, David; Estep, Jim A.; Anderson, Richard L.; Elphick, Chris S.; Dobkin, David S.; Bell, Doug A.
    We used satellite-based remote sensing to estimate home ranges for Swainson’s Hawk, a species listed as threatened in California (USA), on its breeding grounds in the Natomas Basin (northern Central Valley, California) and to evaluate whether the species’ space-use intensity (statistically derived density of telemetry locations) was associated with land cover, sex, reproductive success, or life stage of offspring. We differentiated seven classes of land cover—alfalfa, annually rotated irrigated crops, developed, grassland, orchard / vineyard, rice, and water. From 2011–2013, we fitted transmitters with global positioning systems to 23 adult Swainson’s Hawks. We recorded a minimum of six locations per day per bird from spring through early autumn of each year. We used a fixed, bivariate-normal kernel estimator to calculate a utilization distribution at 30-m resolution for each life stage of each individual within each year. We used a linear mixed model to estimate the associations between intensity of space use and land cover, sex, and reproductive status. The majority of adult Swainson’s Hawks traveled distances up to 8–10 km from the nest throughout the breeding season. Median seasonal home-range sizes in a given year ranged from 87–172 km2. The association between intensity of space use and grassland was 50–139% stronger, and the association between intensity of space use and alfalfa 23–59% stronger, than the associations between intensity of space use and any other land-cover type. Intensity of space use did not vary as a function of sex, reproductive status, or life stage. Given our results and additional knowledge of the species’ ecology, we suggest that reproductive success and, in turn, population-level recruitment may be associated equally if not more closely with availability of nesting sites than with the current distribution of land cover.