Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor's Name

Philip K. Stoddard

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Victor Apanius

Third Advisor's Name

Joel T. Heinen

Date of Defense

3-27-1998

Abstract

This study documents the 1996 and 1997 autumn migration seasons at Grassy Key for 16 species of raptors (hawks, eagles, and falcons). My results indicate the Florida Keys are a major raptor migration flyway (over 26,000 sightings). I identified factors influencing watch-site location in the Keys. Northbound flights must be included to avoid inflating southbound counts. By removing the "season effect" (natural rise, peak, and wane of raptor numbers during migration), I demonstrate wind has little consistent effect on raptor counts in the Keys. I further demonstrate we do not see more raptors on cold front days than on non-cold front days. However, cold fronts following tropical storms (as in 1996) increase the number of raptors observed for most species. I conducted a nightly roosting survey on Boot Key resulting in near or over 3,000 raptor sightings per season and present a model to predict aerial counts from roosting counts.

Identifier

FI14051826

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