Camp Robinson

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

[table]

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,
[/table]

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