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Melanism (dark coloration) is a condition resulting from a greater than normal expres-sion of the eumelanin pigments in the plumage (Gill 1990). The dark coloration can be advantageous to raptors by increasing the feathers’ resistance to bacterial degradation (Goldstein et al. 2004). conversely, abnormally dark pigmentation can reduce success in pairing by disguising key species-identification cues (García 2003) and decrease lifetime reproductive success by increasing mortality (krüger and lindström 2001). Polymorphism in color, of which melanism is one example, occurs in at least 3.5% of avian species worldwide and in 22% of raptors of the family Accipitridae (harriers, hawks, eagles, kites, and Old World vultures;...
There is widespread evidence that multiple drivers of global change, such as habitat degradation, invasive species, and climate change, are influencing wildlife. Understanding how these drivers interact with and affect species may be difficult because outcomes depend on the magnitude and duration of environmental change and the life history of the organism. In addition, various environmental drivers may be evaluated and managed at different spatial scales. We used a historical dataset from 1991 to 1994 and current information from 2010 to 2012 to examine whether occupancy patterns of wintering raptors were consistent with regional changes in distribution or habitat conditions within a local management unit, the...
Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas...