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Daniel H. Catlin, Daniel K. Journal of Raptor Research 1 June ; 48 2 : — Natal dispersal is an important driver of population and colonization dynamics, yet factors that affect timing and distance of post-fledging movements are poorly understood. We studied post-fledging movements of 34 12 male and 22 female juvenile Burrowing Owls Athene cunicularia between June and Aprilin a nonmigratory population in the Imperial Valley, California.

We found high variation in movement patterns among individuals. Juvenile Burrowing Owls moved up to Those that fledged early in the season remained closer to their nests for a longer period than those that fledged later in the season. Members of male—female, but not male—male, sibling pairs were more likely to be within m of one another than members of female—female sibling pairs. Our study, conducted in a highly simplified agricultural environment, provides evidence that sex, fledging date, and sibling relationships can be responsible for the high individual variation in post-fledging movements of Burrowing Owls that has often been attributed to environmental variation.

Los juveniles de A. Las hembras de A. Natal dispersal, or the movement of an individual from birthplace to the place of its first breeding attempt Matthysenhas received a great deal of attention as an important life-history characteristic.

Understanding natal dispersal is central to predicting the consequences of environmental change because of natal dispersal's influence on the dynamics of populations and the colonization dynamics of unoccupied patches Clobert et al. Simplifying natal dispersal into a single event, which has often been the case in studies of dispersal, neglects the complex nature of animal movement. Natal dispersal in birds is often more complicated than a single move MortonWiensForsman et al.

This understanding, as well as the improvement of tracking methods, has led to an increasing of studies of the components of natal dispersal in birds, and in particular, post-fledging movements Belthoff and RitchisonVega Rivera et al. Several factors have been posed to explain what post-fledging movements represent: the beginning stages of migration Vega Rivera et al. Because post-fledging movement is a precursor to and component of both natal dispersal and migration MortonMorrison and Woodexamining its features may aid in explaining these two important yet poorly understood phenomena.

Post-fledging movements of siblings may not be independent of each other Alberico et al. Studies of natal behavior often avoid using multiple young from a single nest to avoid statistical issues of non-independence King and BelthoffToddWoman want sex tonight El Nido California et al. Examining relationships among siblings through the post-fledging period may provide insights on factors affecting movement patterns Belthoff and RitchisonO'Toole et al.

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We evaluated the role of sex, fledging date, and sibling relationships on post-fledging movements in a nonmigratory population of Burrowing Owls Athene cunicularia that encounter similar environmental conditions in an expansive agricultural landscape. Burrowing Owls are small, ground-dwelling owls distributed across western North America, parts of Central and South America, Florida, and the Caribbean islands Poulin et al.

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Studies of Burrowing Owl post-fledging movements have focused on migratory populations King and BelthoffToddDavies and RestaniTodd et al. How post-fledging movements in a nonmigratory population differ from those in migratory populations of the same species is unknown, and provides an opportunity for contrasting movement patterns within a species that has a range of migratory strategies.

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The study area was centered within an We searched for radio-tagged Burrowing Owls within approximately 25 km from the center of the study site. The entire study area was characterized by intensive agriculture and a high density of Burrowing Owls Rosenberg and Haley The agricultural system on our study area consisted of a network of cement drains and canals, as well as earthen drains, all of which provided nesting sites either in natural nests or nest boxes Rosenberg and Haley Although Burrowing Owls selectively foraged in, or nested near, some crop types more often than in others in the Imperial Valley Rosenberg and HaleyBartok and Conwaythe study area was a relatively homogeneous mix of nesting and foraging areas because of the highly managed nature of this agricultural area Rosenberg and Haley From 9 June to 20 Julywe captured and radio-tagged 34 22 female, 12 male juvenile Burrowing Owls.

To capture young Burrowing Owls we selected natural nests based on the presence of emerged young, and randomly selected nest boxes. We searched for nests in early April, during the egg-laying period. We observed nests weekly for s of emerging young. We captured young within a week of when we first observed them outside of nest burrows or within the mouth of the burrow. We captured Burrowing Owls using two-way burrow traps Catlin and Rosenberg and by opening nest boxes. Burrowing Owls frequently occupy nest boxes Belthoff and Smithand the nest boxes used in this study were within m of naturally occurring nest and non-nest burrows.

Burrowing Owl reproductive success and movement patterns of adults was similar between those nesting in natural nests and nest boxes Rosenberg and Haley ; D. Rosenberg unpubl.

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studies of post-fledging movements that included both natural nests and nest boxes have not reported differences in movement patterns Clayton and SchmutzKing and BelthoffTodd et al. We assumed nest type did not bias our assessment of factors associated with post-fledging movements of Burrowing Owls. We fitted juvenile Burrowing Owls with radio transmitters that had a ca. We attempted to capture Burrowing Owls that recently fledged; therefore, the of weeks since tagging represented the of weeks since fledging.

We removed one breast feather to determine sex through genetic analysis conducted by Avian Biotech International Tallahassee, Florida, U. We used ground and aerial surveys to locate radio-tagged Burrowing Owls from June to April During ground surveys, we used two 4-element Yagi antennae Cushcraft Corp. Ground surveys started at the last known location of each radio-tagged Burrowing Owl, but if we were unable to locate a radio-tagged Burrowing Owl near that location, we covered a 1-km-diameter circle, checking at m increments in each of the four cardinal directions around the last known location.

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Moreover, Burrowing Owls in our study area were habituated to humans in vehicles making frequent stops to check irrigation equipment, which reduced the likelihood that they would react to our presence. We conducted ground surveys weekly June—August, or biweekly September to Aprilexcept between 29 August and 21 September After we located a Burrowing Owl via radiotelemetry, we attempted to confirm whether it was alive or dead. Aerial surveys consisted of north—south aerial transects with 5-km spacing.

We conducted aerial surveys 16 times from a fixed-wing aircraft to search for radio als from radio-tagged Burrowing Owls that were not detected during ground surveys. We consistently searched an area of approximately km 2allowing us to detect Burrowing Owls that moved up to 23—27 km from their nests.

In the last week of our study, we searched for missing radio-marked Burrowing Owls during two surveys during daylight hours and a single survey during the night of each of the north—south ro within the core study area daylight or within the core area and 1. Our operational criterion of m was approximately the median nearest-neighbor distance for active Burrowing Owl nests at our study area Rosenberg and Haley This distance defined the area around a nest that typically includes satellite burrows for juveniles and the breeding pair Desmond and SavidgeRonan and the distance between neighboring pairs of Burrowing Owls where territorial interactions occur Green and AnthonyMoulton et al.

We assumed that each of the juvenile Burrowing Owls in our samples was approximately the same age when we equipped them with a radio transmitter. We divided the radiotelemetry data collected throughout the year into 23 time Woman want sex tonight El Nido California based on an individual's fledging date that approximated weekly intervals for the first 10 wk, biweekly intervals for weeks 11—34 12 intervalsand a single interval for the final 2 mo of the study, which coincided with the initiation of the following year's breeding season.

For all analyses, we used the 23 intervals as the time since fledging, which we treated as a continuous covariate in the regression models described below.

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We examined independence and maximum distance moved with multiple linear regression models that included as explanatory variables 1 time since fledging log transformed2 an indicator variable for sex, 3 an indicator variable for early or late fledging date, and 4 interaction between the indicator variables and time since fledging log transformed. The interaction terms allowed us to examine differences between the sexes and between early and late fledging date with respect to time since fledging.

We performed all transformations to meet assumptions of normality and constant variance for linear regression. Because mortality reduced the sample size of radio-tagged juvenile Burrowing Owls as the study progressed, we used weighted multiple regression and used the of Burrowing Owls in each interval as the weight. We compared post-fledging movements relative to the type of sibling relationship based on sex i. The 34 Burrowing Owls that we fitted with radio transmitters came from 16 nests. We tagged multiple juveniles at 10 of these nests, where we radio tagged two five neststhree three nestsfour one nestand five one nest juveniles.

We investigated independence and distance between members of sibling pairs for each of the 23 sampling intervals. When there was more than a single pair of a particular type male—male, female—male, female—female from a single brood, we calculated distances for each combination without replacement. These pairs were then included in the average distance or proportion within m for the sampling interval for each type of sibling relationship. For analyses of movements between members of sibling pairs, the explanatory variables included time since fledging log transformedan indicator variable for the type of sibling relationship, and an interaction between time since fledging log transformed and the type of sibling relationship.

The interaction represented the difference in the rate of separation between members of sibling pairs. The response variable in both models was based on the average value proportion or maximum distance for each of the 23 sampling intervals partitioned by the type of sibling relationship. We weighted both models by the of sibling pairs used in the average for each sampling interval.

We transformed variables to meet the assumptions of normality and constant variance for linear regression. We mean-centered the time since fledging log transformed for all analyses because Woman want sex tonight El Nido California introduction of an interaction term complicates the interpretation of indicator variables Aiken and West We captured and radio-tagged 22 female and 12 male juvenile Burrowing Owls. All radio-marked male Burrowing Owls were found dead by 13 wk since fledging 5. Seventeen of 22 radio-marked female Burrowing Owls were found dead by 43 wk since fledging Two of these females remained at their nest until the following April, when Burrowing Owls on our study area typically initiate egg-laying Rosenberg and Haley However, because no male Burrowing Owls lived longer than 13 wk post fledging, interpretation of sex-related parameters is limited to the early post-fledging period.

Burrowing Owls that returned within m of their nest in subsequent weeks were reclassified for that interval, but earlier deations were not changed. Burrowing Owls that died were removed from the proportion such that the sample size decreased with weeks since fledging. Distance juvenile Burrowing Owls moved away from their nests was related to timing of fledging and time since fledging.

In cases of multiple pairs within a brood, we calculated distances for each combination without replacement and included these pairs in the average proportion for each time interval. Burrowing Owls that returned within m of a sibling in Woman want sex tonight El Nido California weeks were reclassified for that interval, but earlier deations were not changed. Pairs in which one or both Burrowing Owls died were removed from the proportion such that the sample size decreased with weeks since fledging. Our study is the first to report on post-fledging movements for a nonmigratory population of Burrowing Owls.

Although factors such as sex, sibling relationships, time since fledging, and timing of fledging were related to post-fledging movements of Burrowing Owls, individuals exhibited considerable variation in their movement patterns not related to these factors. Time since fledging, timing of fledging, and sex differed in magnitude as factors related to initial independence and maximum distance moved. Males, on average, achieved independence more quickly than female Burrowing Owls. Females remained near the nest much longer.

There was very high variation of maximum distance moved among individuals and sampling intervals, resulting in no apparent relationship with sex and only a weak relationship with time since fledging. Our estimates of the relationship of sex and distance moved were limited to the earlier portion of the study because of the early mortality of males.

Mortality was due, in part, to transmitter effects Gervais et al.

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Timing of fledging was the only factor that was clearly related to both independence and maximum distance moved.

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