Title

Woodpecker Paradise: Territory Size of Melanerpes chrysogenys in Western Mexico

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

15-5-2019

End Date

15-5-2019

Abstract

The Tropical Dry Forest shows intense seasonality, with distinct dry and rainy seasons and a high proportion of endemic species found nowhere else. One such endemic species is Melanerpes chrysogenys, the golden-cheeked woodpecker. Very little is known regarding the life history or behavior of this important cavity-nesting bird. This study was conducted from June to August 2019 at Estación de Biología Chamela, a tropical dry forest biological reserve in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. Our goal was to determine territory size of golden-cheeked woodpeckers in two habitats: 1) the dense foliage of its native tropical dry forest, and 2) domestic palm tree orchards in nearby towns. Territories were located by walking transects in both habitats (26 hectors in the forest and 15.4 in the palms) and, playing woodpecker vocalizations to locate individuals. Locations were pinpointed with GPS and a range finder and then mapped. Territory size was determined from the woodpecker’s reaction to the recorded vocalizations; locations defended in response to vocalizations were considered to be within territory boundaries. Territory size in both habitats was similar, around 0.5 hectors. The palm orchards showed greater territory densities (1.7/ha) compared to the forest (1.2/ha). This difference is likely due to the opportunistic nature of golden-cheeked woodpeckers who take advantage of available resources, such as fruit trees in a yard. Woodpeckers were also observed using tops of cut trees and telephone poles as temporary food storage receptacles even though it’s not common for species to store food in tropical habitats.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Daniel Beck

Department/Program

Biological Sciences

KenyaByrnes_2019.pptx (102586 kB)
Slides for SOURCE 2019 presentation Byrnes

Additional Files

KenyaByrnes_2019.pptx (102586 kB)
Slides for SOURCE 2019 presentation Byrnes

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May 15th, 12:00 AM May 15th, 12:00 AM

Woodpecker Paradise: Territory Size of Melanerpes chrysogenys in Western Mexico

Ellensburg

The Tropical Dry Forest shows intense seasonality, with distinct dry and rainy seasons and a high proportion of endemic species found nowhere else. One such endemic species is Melanerpes chrysogenys, the golden-cheeked woodpecker. Very little is known regarding the life history or behavior of this important cavity-nesting bird. This study was conducted from June to August 2019 at Estación de Biología Chamela, a tropical dry forest biological reserve in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. Our goal was to determine territory size of golden-cheeked woodpeckers in two habitats: 1) the dense foliage of its native tropical dry forest, and 2) domestic palm tree orchards in nearby towns. Territories were located by walking transects in both habitats (26 hectors in the forest and 15.4 in the palms) and, playing woodpecker vocalizations to locate individuals. Locations were pinpointed with GPS and a range finder and then mapped. Territory size was determined from the woodpecker’s reaction to the recorded vocalizations; locations defended in response to vocalizations were considered to be within territory boundaries. Territory size in both habitats was similar, around 0.5 hectors. The palm orchards showed greater territory densities (1.7/ha) compared to the forest (1.2/ha). This difference is likely due to the opportunistic nature of golden-cheeked woodpeckers who take advantage of available resources, such as fruit trees in a yard. Woodpeckers were also observed using tops of cut trees and telephone poles as temporary food storage receptacles even though it’s not common for species to store food in tropical habitats.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2019/Oralpres/68