Food selection, home range, and movements of coyotes on and off a sanctuary in Klamath Basin Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v118rh443

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  • Radio-telemetry and scat analysis were used to investigate daily and seasonal movement patterns and food selection of a protected coyote population on Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge (TLNWR) and adjacent Lava Beds National Monument (LABE) in northeastern California. Study emphasis was on evaluation of movements on and off the sanctuary, and movements and food selection relative to manipulated and undisturbed sites. Nineteen coyotes were trapped and fitted with either radio-telemetry (12) or color-coded (7) collars between 1 November 1982 and 5 May 1983. Home ranges were estimated for eight sanctuary coyotes (two composites) by two methods: (1) 95% minimum convex polygon (MCP) and (2) 90% contour of the utilization distribution. Home ranges were small (95% MCP's : 0.5 - 6.2 km2) and elongate, including portions of both irrigated cropland (TLNWR SW Sump) and undisturbed rangeland (LABE) habitats. Coyotes used cropland habitat primarily for foraging purposes, and rangeland for resting and denning. Elongate shape reflected movements back and forth between habitats. Territoriality was demonstrated. Intensive monitoring of four coyotes from May through September 1983 indicated coyotes used larger areas at night (1700 to 0900) than in daytime (0900 to 1700) during pup-rearing (23 May to 8 August) and dispersal (15 August to 20 November) seasons. Home ranges and core areas were larger for both diel periods in dispersal season than in pup-rearing season. Variable patterns of coyote use of irrigated cropland habitat were attributed to individual energy demands, human activity, and vegetative cover. Only one individual (adult male) was known to make daily excursions off the protected area. Some seasonal migration off the sanctuary took place in late fall, winter, and early spring. Spring migrations may relate to human disturbance on agricultural lands. Food habits analysis showed coyote diet was more diverse in all seasons on the undisturbed rangeland (LABE) than on the irrigated cropland (SW Sump). Montane voles, Nuttall's cottontails, and mule deer were winter staples on LABE. Many other foods (sciurid and heterormyid rodents, insects, berries, birds) entered LABE coyote diet in late spring and summer. Montane voles were the dominant coyote food year round on SW Sump. Birds entered SW Sump coyote diet in substantial quantities only during pheasant and waterfowl hunting seasons in late fall and winter. A model for optimal use of a patchy habitat and its application to coyote foraging strategy and use of manipulated (simple, homogeneous) versus undisturbed (complex, heterogeneous) environments is discussed, as are some management implications.
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