Small-scale disturbance and trash associated with campgrounds may provide opportunities for generalist species in areas important for conservation. We examined the influence of campgrounds on the space use and behavior of Steller's Jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) in Redwood National and State Parks, California, USA. In 2010 and 2011, we used radiotelemetry to monitor the movements of adult male Steller's Jays. We found that home range size of campground jays (16.4 ± 2.6 ha, n = 20) did not differ from non-campground jays (15.0 ± 2.0 ha, n = 10). However, we observed extensive home range overlap among campground jays, possibly contributing to the high density of Steller's Jays previously observed at these sites. Jays roosted alone, primarily in old-growth forest stands away from campgrounds and other human recreation areas. Campground jays regularly commuted between campgrounds and nocturnal roosts. Commuting distance was positively associated with home range size. Campground jays were more frequently observed <1 m from the ground, and were more frequently observed perching than non-campground jays, likely in response to the location and predictability of anthropogenic food. Our findings suggest that campgrounds directly influenced space use and behavior of Steller's Jays in Redwood National and State Parks. Steller's Jays are opportunistic nest predators, leading to concern that their elevated abundance near campgrounds could increase nest predation on federally threatened Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) or other birds nesting in redwood forests.
Vol. 118 • No. 3
Vol. 118 • No. 3
Redwood National and State Parks