Most raptor species rely on perches for hunting, resting, preening, and roosting, and in many agricultural areas the availability of adequate perches can limit raptor abundance and diversity. This has negative implications for both raptor conservation and for the provisioning of natural pest control services for farmers. Installing artificial perches on agricultural lands can therefore benefit both raptors and farmers, but perches must be installed in optimal locations to maximize raptor use and minimize unnecessary costs to farmers. We monitored raptor use of artificial perches in a California vineyard over winter using remote photography to compare two sets of perch types: perches at the top versus perches at the bottom of a steep hill, and perches located among trees versus perches located in an open area. We found that raptors preferred perches on hilltops over perches at the base of hills, and that raptors seem to prefer perches in open habitat over perches located adjacent to trees, although a small sample size for this comparison limited our analysis.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2