Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Presence along Roadside Corridors in Relation to Urban Environment Characteristics in Austin, Texas
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The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a species that has shown a positive ability to adapt and populate urbanized environments in some U.S. cities while displaying a negative ability to adapt in others. The purpose of this study was to determine if Red-tailed Hawk occupancy was affected by differing characteristics of urbanization along roadway corridors in Austin, Texas. A population of Red-tailed Hawks in Austin, TX appears to have adapted to roadway corridors and can be seen year-round. The detection and occupancy probabilities of this raptor species on different roadways were analyzed using program PRESENCE. Occupancy was modeled as constant, a function of the roadway median and a function of urbanization, while detection was modeled as constant and function of seasonality. The model selected estimated occupancy as a function of presence of a median and detection as changing among seasons. However, this model's AIC weight is not significant enough to indicate Red-tailed Hawk occupancy and detection were solely based upon these functions. Further research into differing urbanization characteristics such as traffic flow, median dynamics, vegetative components of the median, as well as prey availability and abundance might lead to a clearer understanding of occupancy and detection of Red-tailed Hawks.