Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Socially mediated avian habitat selection

August 2023 - December 2025


Participating Agencies

Habitat selection is a fundamental process influencing individual fitness, and understanding how animals select habitat is thus critical for developing effective conservation and management strategies. Recent evidence suggests that many wildlife species, and birds in particular, use social information as a cue in habitat selection, yet the mechanistic underpinnings of this behavior remain ambiguous. Our work focuses on developing sampling tools and using them to test hypotheses related to when, where, and why social information is important for habitat selection. This work is being conducted in collaboration with researchers from Auburn University, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Our findings will help improve use of artificial social cues as a management tool to manipulate distributions of target species and improve conservation outcomes.