Post-fledging survival, behavior, and habitat use of an endangered species: the Golden-cheeked Warbler

Evalynn M. Trumbo, Michael P. Ward, Jeffrey Brawn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Understanding associations between habitat and the demography of endangered wildlife is essential for effective management of the full life-cycle. Understanding this relationship is further complicated by the fact that different habitat features may have different impacts across various life-stages of an individual, particularly fledglings in birds. Specific habitat features, such as canopy cover and tree composition may influence survival in that different habitat provides cover from predators and foraging substrate. Thus, we studied survival and behaviors of endangered golden-cheeked warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia) fledglings in Texas. To do this, we monitored nests until fledging and deployed one VHF transmitter per nest (n=8 and n=15, for 2017 and 2018, respectively). We tracked fledglings ~4 weeks after fledging and sampled vegetation at fledgling locations. Fifteen of 23 (65%) fledglings survived at least 32 days (the life of the transmitter’s battery). Using Program MARK and linear mixed models we estimated post-fledgling daily survival rates and period survival, and modeled fledglings’ relationships with differences in habitat, behavior, and an individual’s age. Fledgling period survival of our top model was 0.73 (95% CI = 0.49-0.87), indicating that increasing amounts of juniper in the habitat positively influence survival. Fledglings moved greater distances and foraged more as they aged, transitioning to using oak trees, likely to improve foraging ability. Overall, this study showed that survival of Golden-cheeked Warbler fledglings is relatively high compared to other species, and it has identified certain habitat features that managers could use to potentially create high-quality habitat for golden-cheeked warbler fledglings.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2019 Joint Meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society, 27-30 October 2019, Cape May, New Jersey
StatePublished - 2019


  • INHS


Dive into the research topics of 'Post-fledging survival, behavior, and habitat use of an endangered species: the Golden-cheeked Warbler'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this