Spatial ecology of black and turkey vultures in the southeastern United States
Holland, Amanda Eleanor
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Knowledge of the spatial ecology of black (Coragyps atratus) and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) is surprisingly limited, despite these species’ importance in ecosystem function and considering economic costs associated with human-vulture conflicts. To build upon our understanding of the spatial ecology of sympatric black and turkey vultures in the southeastern United States, I collected >2.8-million GPS locations from 9 black and 9 turkey vultures from 2013-2015 using solar-powered GSM/GPS transmitters. From these data, I developed monthly home ranges and core areas using the dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Model, and quantified and compared space use, activity patterns, roost reuse frequency, roost site fidelity, habitat characteristics of evening roosts, and aspects of resource selection based on utilization distributions by species and sex across multiple spatio-temporal scales. My results build upon understandings of vulture spatial ecology and provide insights into mechanisms underlying facilitation of niche differentiation between these sympatric species.