The development of “snapshot” metrics that can serve as reliable diagnostic tools for rapidly assessing population status has great appeal. We used stochastic simulation modeling and recursive partitioning to evaluate the reliability of two proposed snapshot metrics in territorial raptors: the floater/breeder ratio and the rate of nest occupancy by immature subadults. A demographic model, parameterized with field data from an intensively studied population of golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), showed that neither metric, alone or together, is a good indicator of population status. However, one snapshot metric, the floater/breeder ratio, can help predict the risk of population decline when considered in combination with other information about the population or environment that may be quickly appraised in the field or literature. Specifically, qualitative knowledge of adult survival and whether the population is limited by prey or habitat availability can help with rapid risk assessment of raptor populations.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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