Jon Atwood, PhD
Department of Environmental Studies
The Louisiana Waterthrush’s habitat preferences have not been investigated in detail in central New England. I used Breeding Bird Survey routes to conduct presence/absence and habitat surveys of streams in southern New Hampshire, and used these data in a Habitat Suitability Index (HIS) developed in Pennsylvania. I also used habitat and physiognomic variables derived from existing GIS data to investigate the landscape condition around each sampling location. Logistic regression was used to determine which single habitat variable or combination of variables effectively predicted Louisiana Waterthrush presence or absence. The results showed that all habitat variables from the Pennsylvania-developed HIS, except for percent cover by deciduous trees and stream width, effectively predicted Louisiana Waterthrush presence/absence. However, the results of multiple logistic regression determined that none of the GIS-derived variables were effective predictors of Louisiana Waterthrush presence or absence. Therefore, according to my data, I could not develop a habitat model for this species in Southern New Hampshire using GIS-generated habitat descriptors. However, the HIS developed in Pennsylvania was validated with a few changes represents a good start in understanding the species’ habitat preferences on the northern fringe of its breeding range. Using these results, a modified HIS could possibly be used in conservation planning efforts for Louisiana Waterthrushes in southern New Hampshire.