Bird Surveys

CRfieldCamp Joseph T. Robinson, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, is a 33,000-acre (13,313-hectare) training facility of the Army National Guard. Soldiers take part in a wide variety of infantry, artillery, and small weapons training exercises at this base. Despite these activities, much of the habitat for birds and other wildlife is relatively undisturbed.

No long-term, systematic observations of bird occurrence on Camp Robinson were made until the mid-1990s. From 1994 to 1996, a University of Arkansas graduate student conducted a study of bird habitat usage on Camp Robinson. Along with 137 other species, he observed 4 species that are suffering from population declines throughout large portions of their ranges and that may breed on Camp Robinson: Bachman’s Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Cerulean Warbler, and Northern Bobwhite.

CRvegworkTo help protect these species on Camp Robinson, the Army National Guard contracted the Sutton Avian Research Center to identify important areas and habitats for these birds, potential threats to their continued presence on the camp, and actions that would conserve their populations and improve habitat.

This Rough Green Snake is one of many species at Camp Robinson.
From 19 April to 30 July 1999, we conducted surveys for these species to determine where they were occurring on Camp Robinson and to estimate their population sizes. We also searched for their nests plus the nests of other species to find out if Brown-headed Cowbirds were negatively affecting their reproductive efforts.

 

Bachman’s Sparrows

Beginning in late April 1999, we searched Camp Robinson for Bachman’s Sparrows and their habitat. We recorded 44 detections of sparrows. Many of these detections were of the same individuals – there were probably 15 or so singing birds during the study. Some of these birds were present throughout the study. Others were only seen once or twice. We also found 2 nests and 2 groups of fledglings, showing that Camp Robinson is used for breeding by sparrows. Based on the continued presence of singing males at several locations, we estimate that 7-9 pairs attempted to breed in 1999.

CRsparrows

All but one sparrow was found in old fields with a grassy understory and a few scattered trees. The exception was found singing in a small opening in a planting of pines. We measured several characteristics of the vegetation at spots where sparrows were found and made comparisons to vegetation at random spots in open fields. For the most part, the vegetation was similar, but there were fewer shrubs in sparrow habitat.

Northern Bobwhites

As we did for the other species of concern, we searched for Northern Bobwhites and their habitat beginning in late April. We recorded 149 detections. As with sparrows, many individuals were detected multiple times.

CRquailmap

We found bobwhites in a variety of habitats, but they were most common in and near old fields. We measured vegetation characteristics at locations where we found bobwhites and then made comparisons to vegetation at random spots in old fields. At bobwhite locations, there were greater amounts of canopy cover and shrubs and less ground cover and ground vegetation density.

Brown-headed Cowbirds and Nest Parasitism

We recorded the locations of Brown-headed Cowbirds beginning in late April. We recorded 145 locations. Unlike the other species we studied, cowbirds were widespread on Camp Robinson and were found in almost all areas and habitats we visited. However, they appeared to be most numerous in old fields.

CRcowbirdmap

We found and monitored 46 nests of potential cowbird host species. Most of the nests were located in old fields. We found 6 nests (13 percent) that were parasitized by cowbirds, but of those 6 nests, the host bird accepted the egg in only 2 cases. Host birds usually abandoned the nest when a cowbird laid an egg in it.

Three host eggs and one cowbird egg ultimately hatched, but the nest was later destroyed by a mammalian predator
Three host eggs and one cowbird egg ultimately hatched, but the nest was later destroyed by a mammalian predator
The top and bottom eggs in this Kentucky Warbler nest were laid by cowbirds
The top and bottom eggs in this Kentucky Warbler nest were laid by cowbirds

Of course, cowbirds may have parasitized nests more frequently; however, finding a nest after it has been abandoned is very difficult. Also, we would not know if a nest was parasitized if the host ejected the cowbird’s egg.
Compared to cowbird parasitism, nest predation was a much more frequent cause of nest failure. Nineteen of the 46 nests were depredated, and an equal number successfully fledged young. In many cases of predation, the nest structure was not disturbed, suggesting that the major nest predators were snakes – mammals such as raccoons tend to pull the nest down.

CRresults

Loggerhead Shrikes and Cerulean Warblers

During our searches for Loggerhead Shrikes and Cerulean Warblers, we located only 2 shrikes and 1 warbler, and all birds were seen only once in April and May. The individuals we found were probably still migrating. These species are probably not breeding on Camp Robinson.

Conclusions

Suitable habitat exists on Camp Robinson for Bachman’s Sparrows and Northern Bobwhites. Management actions such as prescribed burning will help maintain habitat and perhaps create new areas for breeding by these species.

Loggerhead Shrikes and Cerulean Warblers do not breed on Camp Robinson. For shrikes, the reasons why are not clear. Their absence may be due to a lack of the appropriate trees and shrubs in which to build their nests. The creation of hedgerows in open areas with short grass, such as the golf course, may provide nesting habitat. Forest species composition, structure, and age on Camp Robinson is not suitable for Cerulean Warblers.

Brown-headed Cowbird nest parasitism rates are relatively low, and host species apparently have developed a strategy (nest abandonment) to deal with parasitism. Cowbirds do not need to be controlled on Camp Robinson as they appear to have no significant impact on breeding of host species.

Species Observed

Birds, reptiles, mammals, and butterflies detected on Camp Robinson, 19 April – 30 July 1999.

Total bird species: 132   Total reptile species: 18

Species  Scientific Name
BIRDS
American White Pelican  Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Great Blue Heron  Ardea herodias
Snowy Egret  Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron  Egretta caerulea
Green Heron  Butorides virescens
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  Nyctanassa violacea
Turkey Vulture  Cathartes aura
Wood Duck  Aix sponsa
Mississippi Kite  Ictinia mississippiensis
Northern Harrier  Circus cyaneus
Cooper's Hawk  Accipiter cooperii
Red-shouldered Hawk  Buteo lineatus
Broad-winged Hawk  Buteo platypterus
Red-tailed Hawk  Buteo jamaicensis
American Kestrel  Falco sparverius
Wild Turkey  Meleagris gallopavo
Northern Bobwhite  Colinus virginianus
Killdeer  Charadrius vociferus
Solitary Sandpiper  Tringa solitaria
Spotted Sandpiper  Actitis macularia
Mourning Dove  Zenaida macroura
Black-billed Cuckoo  Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  Coccyzus americanus
Greater Roadrunner  Geococcyx californianus
Eastern Screech-Owl  Otus asio
Barred Owl  Strix varia
Common Nighthawk  Chordeiles minor
Chuck-will's-widow  Caprimulgus carolinensis
Whip-poor-will  Caprimulgus vociferus
Chimney Swift  Chaetura pelagica
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  Archilochus colubris
Red-headed Woodpecker  Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-bellied Woodpecker  Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker  Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker  Picoides villosus
Northern Flicker  Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker  Dryocopus pileatus
Olive-sided Flycatcher  Contopus cooperi
Eastern Wood-Pewee  Contopus virens
Acadian Flycatcher  Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher  Empidonax alnorum
Least Flycatcher  Empidonax minimus
Eastern Phoebe  Sayornis phoebe
Great-crested Flycatcher  Myiarchus crinitus
Eastern Kingbird  Tyrannus tyrannus
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  Tyrannus forficatus
Loggerhead Shrike  Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo  Vireo griseus
Bell's Vireo  Vireo bellii
Yellow-throated Vireo  Vireo flavifrons
Blue-headed Vireo  Vireo solitarius
Philadelphia Vireo  Vireo philadelphicus
Red-eyed Vireo  Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay  Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow  Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow  Corvus ossifragus
Purple Martin  Progne subis
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
Carolina Chickadee  Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse  Baeolophus bicolor
White-breasted Nuthatch  Sitta carolinensis
Carolina Wren  Thryothorus ludovicianus
House Wren  Troglodytes aedon
Sedge Wren  Cistothorus platensis
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  Regulus calendula
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  Polioptila caerulea
Eastern Bluebird  Sialia sialis
Gray-cheeked Thrush  Catharus minimus
Swainson's Thrush  Catharus ustulatus
Hermit Thrush  Catharus guttatus
Wood Thrush  Hylocichla mustelina
American Robin  Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird  Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird  Mimus polyglottos
Brown Thrasher  Toxostoma rufum
European Starling  Sturnus vulgaris
Cedar Waxwing  Bombycilla cedrorum
Blue-winged Warbler  Vermivora pinus
Golden-winged Warbler  Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler  Vermivora peregrina
Orange-crowned Warbler  Vermivora celeta
Nashville Warbler  Vermivora ruficapilla
Northern Parula  Parula americana
Yellow Warbler  Dendroica petechia
Chestnut-sided Warbler  Dendroica pensylvanica
Magnolia Warbler  Dendroica magnolia
Yellow-rumped Warbler  Dendroica coronata
Black-throated Green Warbler  Dendroica virens
Blackburnian Warbler  Dendroica fusca
Pine Warbler  Dendroica pinus
Prairie Warbler  Dendroica discolor
Palm Warbler  Dendroica palmarum
Bay-breasted Warbler  Dendroica castanea
Cerulean Warbler  Dendroica cerulea
Black-and-white Warbler  Mniotilta varia
American Redstart  Setophaga ruticilla
Prothonotary Warbler  Protonotaria citrea
Worm-eating Warbler  Helmitheros vermivorus
Ovenbird  Seiurus aurocapillus
Northern Waterthrush  Seiurus noveboracensis
Louisiana Waterthrush  Seiurus motacilla
Kentucky Warbler  Oporornis formosus
Mourning Warbler  Oporornis philadelphia
Common Yellowthroat  Geothlypis trichas
Hooded Warbler  Wilsonia citrina
Wilson's Warbler  Wilsonia pusilla
Canada Warbler  Wilsonia canadensis
Yellow-breasted Chat  Icteria virens
Summer Tanager  Piranga rubra
Eastern Towhee  Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Bachman's Sparrow  Aimophila aestivalis
Chipping Sparrow  Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow  Spizella pusilla
Lark Sparrow  Chondestes grammacus
Lincoln's Sparrow  Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow  Melospiza georgiana
White-throated Sparrow  Zonotrichia albicollis
Northern Cardinal  Cardinalis cardinalis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  Pheucticus ludovicianus
Blue Grosbeak  Guiraca caerulea
Indigo Bunting  Passerina cyanea
Dickcissel  Spiza americana
Red-winged Blackbird  Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark  Sturnella magna
Common Grackle  Quiscalus quiscula
Brown-headed Cowbird  Molothrus ater
Orchard Oriole  Icterus spurius
Baltimore Oriole  Icterus galbula
House Finch  Carpodacus mexicanus
American Goldfinch  Carduelis tristis
House Sparrow  Passer domesticus
REPTILES
Three-toed Box Turtle  Terrapene carolina triunguis
Red-eared Slider  Trachemys scripta elegans
Softshell Turtle  Apalone sp.
Western Slender Glass Lizard  Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus
Northern Fence Lizard  Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus
Six-lined Racerunner  Cnemidophorus sexlineatus sexlineatus
Broadhead Skink  Eumeces laticeps
Southern Coal Skink  Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis
Broad-banded Water Snake  Nerodia fasciata confluens
Yellowbelly Water Snake  Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster
Garter Snake  Thamnophis sp.
Rough Green Snake  Opheodrys aestivus
Southern Black Racer  Coluber constrictor priapus
Eastern Coachwhip  Masticophis flagellum flagellum
Black Rat Snake  Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta
Speckled Kingsnake  Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
Southern Copperhead  Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix
Western Cottonmouth  Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
MAMMALS
Nine-banded Armadillo  Dasypus novemcinctus
Eastern Cottontail  Sylvilagus floridanus
Fox Squirrel  Sciurus niger
Beaver  Castor canadensis
Coyote  Canus latrans
Red Fox  Vulpes vulpes
Gray Fox  Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Raccoon  Procyon lotor
Striped Skunk  Mephitis mephitis
White-tailed Deer  Odocoileus virginianus
Total mammal species: 10
BUTTERFLIES
Pipevine Swallowtail  Battus philenor
Black Swallowtail  Papilio polyxenes
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail  Papilio glaucus
Spicebush Swallowtail  Papilio troilus
Clouded Sulphur  Colias philodice
Cloudless Sulphur  Phoebis sennae
Little Yellow  Eurema lisa
Banded Hairstreak  Satyrium calanus
Red-banded Hairstreak  Calycopis cecrops
Eastern Tailed-Blue  Everes comyntas
American Snout  Libytheana carinenta
Variegated Fritillary  Euptoieta claudia
Diana  Speyeria diana
Pearl Crescent  Phyciodes tharos
Question Mark  Polygonia interrogationis
Mourning Cloak  Nymphalis antiopa
American Lady  Vanessa virginiensis
Red Admiral  Vanessa atalanta
Common Buckeye  Junonia coenia
Red-spotted Purple  Limenitis arthemis
Viceroy  Limenitis archippus
Goatweed Leafwing  Anaea andria
Hackberry Emperor  Asterocampa celtis
Pearly Eye  Enodia sp.
Gemmed Satyr  Cyllopsis gemma
Little Wood Satyr  Megisto cymela
Common Wood Nymph  Cercyonis pegala
Hoary Edge  Achalarus cyciades
Southern Cloudywing  Thorybes bathyllus
Duskywing  Erynnis sp.
Common Checkered-Skipper  Pyrgus communis
Total butterfly species: 31