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Fournier, A. M.V., D. C. Mengel, and D. G. Krementz. 2016. Sora (Porzana carolina) autumn migration habitat use. Royal Society Open Science 5:171664.


Palustrine wetland management across the USA is often
conducted under a moist soil management framework aimed
at providing energetic resources for non-breeding waterfowl.
Moist soil management techniques typically include seasonal
water-level manipulations and mechanical soil disturbance
to create conditions conducive to germination and growth
of early successional, seed-producing wetland plants. The
assumption is that providing stopover and wintering habitat
for non-breeding waterfowl will also accommodate life-history
needs of a broader suite of migratory waterbirds including
shorebirds, wading birds and marsh birds. Although studies
of wetlands provide some evidence to support this assumption
for shorebirds and wading birds, there is less information on
how other marshbirds respond. Sora (Porzana carolina) are a
species of migratory rail that depend on wetlands year round
as they migrate across North America. It is a species for which
the consequences of wetland management decisions directed
towards non-breeding waterfowl are unknown. We conducted
nocturnal surveys on 10 public properties in Missouri, USA
during autumn migration during 2012–2016 to examine Sora
habitat use in wetland impoundments managed to enhance
the production of moist soil vegetation. We found a positive
relationship with Sora presence and mean water depth and
annual moist soil vegetation; Sora used, on average, deeper
water than was available across surveyed impoundments and
used locations with a higher percentage of annual moist soil
vegetation thanwas available.We found a negative relationship
with Sora use and upland vegetation, woody vegetation and
open water. We found Sora using deeper water than have
previously been reported for autumn migration, and that moist
soil management techniques used on Missouri’s intensively
managed public wetland areas may be compatible with Sora
autumn migration stopover habitat requirements.


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May 2018

Unit Authors

Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Arkansas
  5. Wildlife Management Institute