OJE  Vol.3 No.2 , May 2013
Predicting nesting habitat of Northern Goshawks in mixed aspen-lodgepole pine forests in a high-elevation shrub-steppe dominated landscape
Abstract: We developed a habitat suitability model for predicting nest locations of breeding Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) in the high-elevation mixed forest and shrub-steppe habitat of south-central Idaho, USA. We used elevation, slope, aspect, ruggedness, distance-to-water, canopy cover, and individual bands of Landsat imagery as predictors for known nest locations with logistic regression. We found goshawks prefer to nest in gently-sloping, east-facing, non-rugged areas of dense aspen and lodgepole pine forests with low reflectance in green (0.53 - 0.61 μm) wavelengths during the breeding season. We used the model results to classify our 43,169 hectare study area into nesting suitability categories: well suited (8.8%), marginally suited (5.1%), and poorly suited (86.1%). We evaluated our model’s performance by comparing the modeled results to a set of GPS locations of known nests (n = 15) that were not used to develop the model. Observed nest locations matched model results 93.3% of the time for well suited habitat and fell within poorly suited areas only 6.7% of the time. Our method improves on goshawk nesting models developed previously by others and may be applicable for surveying goshawks in adjacent mountain ranges across the northern Great Basin.
Cite this paper: Miller, R. , Carlisle, J. , Bechard, M. and Santini, D. (2013) Predicting nesting habitat of Northern Goshawks in mixed aspen-lodgepole pine forests in a high-elevation shrub-steppe dominated landscape. Open Journal of Ecology, 3, 109-115. doi: 10.4236/oje.2013.32013.

[1]   Newton, I. (1979) Population ecology of raptors. Buteo Books, Vermillion.

[2]   Graves, G.R. and Rahbek, C. (2005) Source pool geometry and the assembly of continental avifaunas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 7871-7876. doi:10.1073/pnas.0500424102

[3]   Gotelli, N.J. and Ellison, A.M. (2006) Food-web models predict species abundances in response to habitat change. PLoS Biology, 4, e324. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040324

[4]   Sappington, J.M., Longshore, K.M. and Thompson, D.B. (2007) Quantifying landscape ruggedness for animal habitat analysis: A case study using bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 1419-1426. doi:10.2193/2005-723

[5]   Reich, R.M., Joy, S.M. and Reynolds, R.T. (2004) Predicting the location of Northern Goshawk nests: Modeling the spatial dependency between nest locations and forest structure. Ecological Modelling, 176, 109-133. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2003.09.039

[6]   Mathieu, R., Seddon, P. and Leiendecker, J. (2006) Predicting the distribution of raptors using remote sensing techniques and geographic information systems: A case study with the Eastern New Zealand Falcon (Falconovaeseelandiae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 33, 73-84. doi:10.1080/03014223.2006.9518432

[7]   Guisan, A. and Zimmermann, N.E. (2000) Predictive habitat distribution models in ecology. Ecological Modelling, 135, 147-186. doi:10.1016/S0304-3800(00)00354-9

[8]   Titus, K. and Mosher, J.A. (1981) Nest-site habitat selected by woodland hawks in the Central Appalachians. The Auk, 98, 270-281.

[9]   Hurlbert, A.H. and Jetz, W. (2007) Species richness, hotspots, and the scale dependence of range maps in ecology and conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 13384-13389. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704469104

[10]   Wiens, J.A., Rotenberry, J.T. and Horne, B.V. (1987) Habitat occupancy patterns of North American shrubsteppe birds: The effects of spatial scale. Oikos, 48, 132-147. doi:10.2307/3565849

[11]   O’Reilly, F.J. (1975) On a criterion for extrapolation in normal regression. The Annals of Statistics, 3, 219-222. doi:10.1214/aos/1176343010

[12]   Fielding, A.H. and Haworth, P.F. (1995) Testing the generality of bird-habitat models. Conservation Biology, 9, 1466-1481. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1995.09061466.x

[13]   Squires, J.R. and Reynolds, R.T. (1997) Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). In: Poole, A., Ed., The Birds of North America Online, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca.

[14]   Reynolds, R.T., Meslow, E.C. and Wight, H.M. (1982) Nesting habitat of coexisting accipiter in Oregon. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 46, 124-138. doi:10.2307/3808415

[15]   Younk, J.V. and Bechard, M.J. (1994) Breeding ecology of the Northern Goshawk in high-elevation aspen forests of northern Nevada. In: Block, W.M., Morrison, M.L., and Reiser, M.H., Eds., The Northern Goshawk: Ecology and Management, Proceedings of a Symposium of the Cooper Ornithological Society, Sacramento, 14-15 April 1993, 119-121.

[16]   Finn, S.P., Marzluff, J.M. and Varland, D.E. (2002) Effects of landscape and local habitat attributes on Northern Goshawk site occupancy in western Washington. Forest Science, 48, 427-436.

[17]   La Sorte, F.A., Mannan, R.W., Reynolds, R.T. and Grubb, T.G. (2004) Habitat associations of sympatric Red-Tailed Hawks and Northern Goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 68, 307-317. doi:10.2193/0022-541X(2004)068[0307:HAOSRH]2.0.CO;2

[18]   Krüger, O. (2002) Analysis of nest occupancy and nest reproduction in two sympatric raptors: Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and Goshawk Accipiter gentilis. Ecography, 25, 523-532. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0587.2002.250502.x

[19]   Lohmus, A. (2005) Are timber harvesting and conservation of nest sites of forest-dwelling raptors always mutually exclusive? Animal Conservation, 8, 443-450. doi:10.1017/S1367943005002349

[20]   Woodbridge, B. and Hargis, C.D. (2006) Northern Goshawk inventory and monitoring technical guide. USDA Forest Service, Washington DC.

[21]   U.S. Forest Service (2003) Sawtooth National Forest revised land and resource management plan. Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls.

[22]   U.S. Forest Service (1980) Cassia timber environmental assessment. Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls.

[23]   Miller, R.A., Carlisle, J.D. and Bechard, M.J. (In review) Indirect effects of prey abundance on breeding season diet of northern goshawks (accipiter gentilis) within a unique prey landscape. Journal of Raptor Research.

[24]   Kennedy, P.L. and Stahlecker, D.W. (1993) Responsiveness of nesting Northern Goshawks to taped broadcasts of 3 conspecific calls. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 57, 249-257. doi:10.2307/3809421

[25]   Hasselblad, K., Bechard, M. and Bednarz, J.C. (2007) Male Northern Goshawk home ranges in the Great Basin of south-central Idaho. Journal of Raptor Research, 41, 150-155. doi:10.3356/0892-1016(2007)41[150:MNGHRI]2.0.CO;2

[26]   U.S. Geological Survey (1999) National elevation dataset of southcentral Idaho. U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls.

[27]   Roberts, D.W. (1986) Ordination on the basis of fuzzy set theory. Vegetatio, 66, 123-131. doi:10.1007/BF00039905

[28]   Jenness, J.S. (2004) Calculating landscape surface area from digital elevation models. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 32, 829-839. doi:10.2193/0091-7648(2004)032[0829:CLSAFD]2.0.CO;2

[29]   U.S. Geological Survey (2001) National land cover database tree canopy layer. U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls.

[30]   Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (2006) Streams of Idaho (2002 305(b) & 303(d) integrated report—water quality). Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Boise.

[31]   U.S. Geological Survey (2010) Global land survey (GLS) datasets: 2010. U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls.

[32]   Hijmans, R.J. and Van Etten, J. (2012) Geographic analysis and modeling with raster data.

[33]   Chambers, J.M. and Hastie, T. (1992) Statistical models in S. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole Advanced Books & Software, Pacific Grove.

[34]   Cliff, A.D. and Ord, J.K. (1981) Spatial processes: Models & applications. Pion, London.

[35]   Ottaviani, D., Lasinio, G.J. and Boitani, L. (2004) Two statistical methods to validate habitat suitability models using presence-only data. Ecological Modelling, 179, 417-443. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2004.05.016

[36]   R Development Core Team (2012) R: A language and environment for statistical computing.

[37]   VanDerWal, J., Falconi, L., Januchowski, S., Shoo, L. and Storlie, C. (2012) Species distribution modelling tools.

[38]   Bivand, R. (2012) Spatial dependence: Weighting schemes, statistics and models.

[39]   ESRI (2012) ArcMap 10.1.

[40]   Lowry, J., et al. (2007) Mapping moderate-scale land-covers over very large geographic areas within a collaborative framework: A case study of the southwest regional gap analysis project (SWReGAP). Remote Sensing of Environment, 108, 59-73. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.11.008.