Management of Cowbird Traps on the Landscape: An Individual-Based Modeling Approach for Fort Hood, Texas.
CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING RESEARCH LAB (ARMY) CHAMPAIGN IL
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The presence of brown-headed cowbirds BHCO affects local songbird populations, including breeding populations of black-capped vireos BCVI and golden-cheeked warblers GCWA, across large distances on Fort Hood, Texas. Due to the impact of BHCO parasitism on these two endangered species, Fort Hood personnel have conducted a BHCO control program since 1991, which includes live-trapping and shooting individual BHCO throughout the breeding season. The objective of this study was to develop a model that simulates BHCO breeding and feeding habitats across the Fort Hood landscape, daily BHCO movement behavior, and the placement and management of BHCO traps. The model generates predictions of sites most likely to receive frequent visitation by feeding BHCOs, and compares the capture success among different trapping strategies. Output suggests that the model is fairly stable to variation in several input variables, and the model accurately captures current knowledge about BHCO movement and locations on Fort Hood. Ongoing efforts will include improved mapping of nearby feeding habitat across the installation boundary, and validation of BCHO visitation output.