Conspecific audio can be broadcast to improve detection probability (detectability) of secretive marsh bird species for population monitoring purposes and as a lure to more effectively trap individuals. Our primary objective was to describe King Rail (Rallus elegans) detectability as a function of distance and so determine if the distance sampling assumption of perfect detectability immediately adjacent to survey points was violated during call-broadcast surveys. We also described what factors affected King Rail detectability during audio broadcast surveys, and how and when this species was detected, and compared effectiveness of various King Rail call recordings used during trapping attempts. To accomplish these objectives, we experimentalized trapping efforts, radio-tagged 12 King Rails, and conducted repeated call-broadcast surveys for each radio-tagged individual in Michigan and Ohio, USA during the 2020 and 2021 breeding seasons. We found that King Rail detectability during 81 surveys was 0.39, which violates the aforementioned distance sampling assumption and necessitates a correction factor. Detectability within survey segments varied among survey periods, though overall detectability remained relatively constant, even after call-broadcast surveys in our study area typically end (post-survey period: 15 June to 10 July), which indicates that King Rail monitoring could effectively continue later than currently occurs. We found that grunt calls resulted in more captures than kek calls and that a multi-call track was most effective at trapping King Rails. Our findings could improve King Rail population estimates and increase success during trapping efforts, and may inform similar efforts for other secretive marsh birds.
|Translated title of the contribution||King Rail (Rallus elegans) response to audio playback: implications for population estimation, monitoring methodology, and trapping approach|
|Journal||Journal of Field Ornithology|
|State||Published - 2023|