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Wild animals in urban environments face new challenges that may change how they use space and, at the same time, how they use space provides clues to suitability of habitat: bird territories in desirable areas tend to be smaller and populations denser. Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus), historically associated with shortgrass habitats such as pasture and shrub steppe, occur widely in urban areas of the southeastern United States. For a complete picture of shrike use of space in urban spaces, we present three measures for a population inhabiting urban areas of Horry County, South Carolina: population density, home range size, and nest spacing. We maintained an individually banded population of shrikes in a core 8.4 km² study area of occupied shrike habitat within a larger 19.8 km² monitored area. We estimated breeding season, non-breeding season, and year-round home range sizes by mapping perch locations of 38 banded shrikes throughout the year. We used records of 142 nests to calculate distance to nearest neighboring nest. Over a three-year period, the 8.4 km² core area supported 6.9 shrikes/km². The extended monitored area supported 2.9 shrikes/ km². Year-round home range estimates averaged 2.5 ha, and breeding and non-breeding home range sizes did not differ. Median distance to nearest active nest for 85 focal nests was 354 meters (range 43–1751 m). Comparisons of these metrics with other published studies indicate that shrikes in this urban area are at higher densities, maintain smaller home range sizes, and nest more closely to their neighbors than their rural conspecifics, indicating that urban areas likely provide richer resources for Loggerhead Shrikes than rural areas.

This article was published Open Access through the CCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund. The article was first published in the Journal of Field Ornithology:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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