Intensive agriculture, as is typical of corn and soybean production, may be responsible for declines in the abundance and diversity of farmland birds. In Quebec, the transition to intensive crops is evidenced by marked increases of corn and soybean fields. From 2008 to 2010, we used satellite telemetry to study use of corn (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max) fields, other farmlands, wetlands, urban areas, and other habitats by 10 female Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) of the anatum—tundrius complex, a taxon of “special concern” in Canada. We monitored females during the nesting season, from hatching of eggs to independence of young, but before the young dispersed away from the nest site. Adult females were less likely to use corn and soybean fields than the “other farmlands” and “other habitats” categories during the nestling stage and the first month after young fledged. Once young fledged, other farmlands and urban areas were more likely to be used than the “other habitats” category when females were hunting in the areas that were farthest from the nest. The expansion of corn and soybean fields in the Quebec agricultural landscape has occurred to the detriment of other crops and may contribute to the decline in quality of hunting habitat of Peregrine Falcons and other avian top predators.
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Vol. 130 • No. 2