Term of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Michael P. Moulton

Committee Member 1

Stephen P. Vives

Committee Member 2

John W. Parrish

Abstract

I assessed the effects of 15 microhabitat variables (i.e. habitat variables measured within a 10 meter radius of the nest box) on artificial nest site selection and on annual productivity (total number of eggs/nest/year) of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) in south Georgia. Sixty-nine (1990) and 74 (1991) artificial nesting boxes were monitored near Statesboro, Georgia from March through July during both years of the project. Measurements of 15 microhabitat variables were recorded at each nesting box.

A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to compare the raw microhabitat variables surrounding selected boxes versus unselected boxes. In both years of the study, microhabitat surrounding selected and unselected boxes did not differ significantly. The raw variables surrounding boxes that were occupied were further recombined using Principal Components Analysis (PCA). Annual productivity (TOTEGGS) was regressed against the resulting principal component scores. During the 1990 breeding season, TOTEGGS was significantly correlated with PRIN1 (openness) and PRIN4 (orientation of nest box). In 1991, none of the first 6 principal components were significantly correlated with TOTEGGS.

Nest box selection by Eastern Bluebirds did not appear to be based on microhabitat variables. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not microhabitat influences annual productivity.

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