2003-present Director, Avian Science Center, University of Montana
1987-present Professor of Biology and Wildlife Biology, University of Montana
Field Of Study:
My research interests revolve around habitat selection, the factors that determine suitability of sites to landbirds, and the process by which birds choose to settle nonrandomly in space. Most of my research has been focused in conifer forest and riparian habitats in the northern Rockies and in northern Mexico. I am especially interested in conifer forests that have been disturbed by recent wildfires and/or timber harvesting, and in riparian systems that are subject to a variety of human alterations. In both systems I am asking how vegetation type and structure (as influenced by land use practices) and landscape context affect habitat selection and subsequent distribution patterns. Some of my main questions are: How can we use our mechanistic understanding to model the distribution pattern of any bird species? For any given species, why has natural selection led to a distribution pattern that is non-random in space? Do patterns of habitat occupancy reflect habitat suitability? How important is disturbance in maintaining diversity in these systems?
Most of my research activity is conducted in association with
(a) a 20-year-old program that was originally funded by the Northern Region of the USFS (http://www.avianscience.org/research_landbird.htm), through which we developed a monitoring program focusing on forest-bird habitat relationships and management effects on USFS lands;
(b) a program funded by PPL-Montana, BLM, Big Hole Watershed Committee, USFWS (http://www.avianscience.org/research_riparian_madison.htm) to use birds as a tool to assess restoration success along the Madison and Missouri Rivers in Montana, and to study the distribution, nest success, and re-fueling success of riparian birds in relation to riparian land-use practices;
(c) a program funded by USFS/RMRS and the Joint Fire Sciences Program (http://www.avianscience.org/research_avianfire.htm), to examine the distribution of birds within and among recently burned forests to better understand what must have constituted historical fire regimes in the northern Rockies.
My lab is especially interested in putting our research results to practical use by integrating the habitat needs of migratory songbirds into management schemes that are directed toward building a sustainable future.
Education:B.A. University of California, Los Angeles, 1971
M.S. Northern Arizona University, 1973
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1977
Undergraduate: Montana Wildlife; Ornithology; Field Ornithology; Animal Ecology; Community Ecology; Avian Census Methods; Field Ecology; Senior Thesis
Graduate: Advanced Ornithology; Advanced Animal Behavior; Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology; Avian Ecology; Fire Ecology; Behavioral Ecology Seminar; Ecology Seminar
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Association for Fire Ecology
Cooper Ornithological Society
Ecological Society of
International Association of Wildland Fire
Society for Conservation Biology
Hutto, R. L. 2012. Viewpoint: distorting the process of scientific inquiry. BioScience 62:707-708.
McCarthy, K. P., R. J. Fletcher, Jr., C. T. Rota, and R. L. Hutto. 2012. Predicting species distributions from samples collected along roadsides. Conservation Biology 26:68-77.
Swanson, M. E., J. F. Franklin, R. L. Beschta, C. M. Crisafulli, D. A. DellaSala, R. L. Hutto, D. B. Lindenmayer, and F. J. Swanson. 2011. A reply to King et al. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9:320
Rota, C. T., R. J. Fletcher, J. M. Evans, and R. L. Hutto. 2011. Does accounting for imperfect detection improve species distribution models? Ecography 34:659-670.
Fletcher, R. J., Jr., J. S. Young, R. L. Hutto, A. Noson, and C. T. Rota. 2011. Insights from ecological theory on temporal dynamics and species distribution modeling. Pages 91-107 in C. A. Drew, Y. F. Wiersma, and F. Huettmann, editors, Predictive Species and Habitat Modeling in Landscape Ecology: Concepts and Applications. Springer, New York.
Swanson, M. E., J. F. Franklin, R. L. Beschta, C. M. Crisafulli, D. A. DellaSala, R. L. Hutto, D. B. Lindenmayer, and F. J. Swanson. 2011. The forgotten stage of forest succession: early-successional ecosystems on forest sites. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9(2):117-125.
Robertson, B. A., R. L. Hutto, and J. J. Fontaine. 2010. Evaluating food availability and nest predation risk as sources of bias in aural bird surveys. Journal of Field Ornithology 81:420-429.
Hutto, R. L. 2010. Stand-replacement fire: for the birds? Pp. 18-20 in D. Faulkner. Birds of Wyoming. Roberts and Company Publishers, Greenwood Village, CO.
Hutto, R. L., and R. J. Stutzman. 2009. Humans versus autonomous recording units: a comparison of point-count results. Journal of Field Ornithology 80:387-398.
Hutto, R. L. 2009. The ecological necessity of severe fire: an education message still not heard [abstract]. P. 52 in R. E. Masters, K. E. M. Galley, and D. G. Despain (editors). The ‘88 fires: Yellowstone and beyond, Conference proceedings. Tall Timbers Misc. Publ. No. 16, Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL.
Hutto, R. L. 2009. Aspectos ecológicos únicos asociados con la saves migratorias de larga distancia del occidente de México. Pp. 1-18 in G. Ceballos, L. Martínez, A. García, E. Espinoza, J. Bezaury, and R. Dirzo (editors), Diversidad, amenazas y áreas prioritarias para la conservación de las Selvas Secas del Pacífico de México, CONABIO, México, D.F.
Hutto, R. L., C. J. Conway, V. A. Saab, and J. R. Walters. 2008. What constitutes a natural fire regime? Insight from the ecology and distribution of coniferous forest birds in North America. Fire Ecology 2:115-132.
Hutto, R. L. 2008. The importance of severe wildfires: some like it hot. Ecological Applications 18:1827-1834.
Fletcher, R. J., and R. L. Hutto. 2008. Partitioning the multi-scale effects of human activity on the occurrence of riparian forest birds. Landscape Ecology 23:727-739.
Robertson, B. A., and R. L. Hutto. 2007. Is selectively harvested forest an ecological trap for Olive-sided Flycatchers? Condor 109:109-121.
DellaSala, D. A., J. R. Karr, T. Schoennagel, D. Perry, R. F. Noss, D. Lindenmayer, R. Beschta, R. L. Hutto, M. E. Swanson, and J. Evans. 2006. Postfire logging debate ignores many issues. Science 314:51-52.
Hutto, R. L., and S. M. Gallo. 2006. The effects of postfire salvage logging on cavity-nesting birds. Condor 108:817-831.
Hutto, R. L. 2006. Toward meaningful snag-management guidelines for postfire salvage logging in North American conifer forests. Conservation Biology 20:984-993.
Robertson, B. A., and R. L. Hutto. 2006. A framework for understanding ecological traps and an evaluation of existing ecological evidence. Ecology 87:1075-1085.
1. Hutto, R. L. 1978. A mechanism for resource allocation among sympatric heteromyid rodent species. Oecologia 33:115-126.
2. Hutto, R. L. 1980. Winter habitat distribution of migratory land birds in western
3. Hutto, R. L. 1980. A laboratory manual for Zoology 308--Ornithology.
4. Hutto, R. L. 1981. Seasonal variation in the foraging behavior of some migratory western wood warblers. Auk 98:765-777.
5. Hutto, R. L., and S. L. Mosconi. 1981. Lateral detectability profiles for line transect bird censuses: some problems and an alternative. Studies in Avian Biology 6:382-387.
6. Hutto, R. L. 1981. Temporal patterns of foraging activity in some wood warblers in relation to the availability of insect prey. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 9:195-198.
7. Mosconi, S. L., and R. L. Hutto. 1982. The effect of grazing on the land birds of a western
8. Hutto, R. L. 1982.
9. Korol, J. J., and R. L. Hutto. 1984. Factors affecting nest site location in Gila Woodpeckers. Condor 86:73-78.
10. Hutto, R. L. 1985. Habitat selection by nonbreeding, migratory land birds. Pp. 455-476 in M. L. Cody (ed.) Habitat Selection in Birds. Academic Press, Inc.,
11. Hutto, R. L. 1985. Seasonal changes in the habitat distribution of transient insectivorous birds in southeastern
12. Bennetts, R. E., and R. L. Hutto. 1985. Attraction of social fringillids to mineral salts: an experimental study. Journal of Field Ornithology 56:187-189.
13. Hutto, R. L., P. Hendricks, and S. Pletschet. 1985. Un censo invernal de las aves de la Estación de Biología Chamela, Jalisco México. An. Inst. Biol. Univ. Nat. Autón. Méx 56:945-954.
14. Hutto, R. L. 1986. Migratory landbirds in western
15. Hutto, R. L., S. M. Pletschet, and P. Hendricks. 1986. A fixed-radius point count method for nonbreeding and breeding season use. Auk 103:593-602.
16. Hutto, R. L. (ed.) 1986 (revised 1994). Bonham and Cooper's birds of west-central
17. Hutto, R. L., J. R. McAuliffe, and L. Hogan. 1986. Distributional associates of the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea). Southwestern Naturalist 31:469-476.
18. Hutto, R. L. 1987. Scale of measurement in ecology: a review. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. 68:57-58.
19. Hutto, R. L. 1987. A description of mixed-species insectivorous bird flocks in western
20. Hutto, R. L. 1987. Effect of systemic pesticide implants on the level of Western spruce budworm infestation: treatment and post-treatment years.
21. Hutto, R. L., S. Reel, and P. B. Landres. 1987. A critical evaluation of the species approach to biological conservation. Endangered Species Update 4:1-4.
22. Hutto, R. L. 1987. Nearctic migrants in the Neotropics: a review. Auk 104:578-579.
23. Hutto, R. L. 1988. Foraging behavior patterns suggest a possible cost associated with participation in mixed-species bird flocks. Oikos 51:79-83.
24. Hutto, R. L. 1988. “Birds of the northern
25. Hutto, R. L. 1988. “Birds of the
26. Hutto, R. L. 1988. Is tropical deforestation responsible for the reported declines in neotropical migrant populations? American Birds 42:375-379.
27. Hutto, R. L. 1989. The effect of habitat alteration on migratory land birds in a west Mexican tropical deciduous forest: a conservation perspective. Conservation Biology 3:138-148.
28. Hutto, R. L. 1989. Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea. Pp. 92-93 in Rare, sensitive, and threatened species of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Clark, T. W., A. H. Harvey, R. D. Dorn, D. L. Genter, and C. Groves, eds.). Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative,
29. Hutto, R. L. 1990. Measuring the availability of food resources. Studies in Avian Biology 13:20-28.
30. Hutto, R. L. 1990. Studies of foraging behavior: central to understanding the ecological consequences of variation in food abundance. Studies in Avian Biology 13:389-390.
31. Tobalske, B. W., R. L. Hutto, and R. C. Shearer. 1990. The effects of timber harvesting on the reproductive success of Red-naped Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus nuchalis). The Northwest Environmental Journal 6:398-399.
32. Tobalske, B. W., R. C. Shearer, and R. L. Hutto. 1991. Bird populations in logged and unlogged western larch/Douglas-fir forest in northwestern
33. Pletscher, D. L., and R. L. Hutto. 1991. Wildlife management and the maintenance of biodiversity.
34. Hutto, R. L. 1991. “American Warblers” by D. H. Morse: a review. Ibis 133:431.
35. Hutto, R. L. 1992. Habitat distributions of migratory landbird species in western
36. Hutto, R. L., S. J. Hejl, C. R. Preston, and D. M. Finch. 1993. Effects of silvicultural treatments on forest birds in the
37. Petit, D. R., J. F. Lynch, R. L. Hutto, J. G. Blake, and R. B. Waide. 1993. Management and conservation of migratory landbirds overwintering in the Neotropics. Pp. 70-92 in D. M. Finch and P. W. Stangel (eds.), Status and management of neotropical migratory birds. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229.
38. Hutto, R. L. 1994. The composition and social organization of mixed-species flocks in a tropical deciduous forest in western
39. Hutto, R. L., S. J. Hejl, J. F. Kelley, and S. M. Pletschet. 1995. A comparison of bird detection rates derived from on-road versus off-road point counts in northern
40. Tobalske, B. W., R. C. Shearer, and R. L. Hutto. 1995. Maintaining bird diversity in western larch/Douglas-fir forests. Pp 505-507 in W. C. Schmidt and K. J. McDonald (compilers) Ecology and management of Larix forests: a look ahead. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-319,
41. Hutto, R. L. 1995. The composition of bird communities following stand-replacement fires in northern Rocky Mountain (U.S.A.) conifer forests. Conservation Biology 9:1041-1058.
42. Hejl, S. J., R. L. Hutto, C. R. Preston, and D. M. Finch. 1995. Effects of silvicultural treatments in the
43. Petit, D. R., R. B. Waide, R. L. Hutto, J. F. Lynch, and J. G. Blake. 1995. Habitat use and conservation of migratory landbirds overwintering in the Neotropics. Pp. 145-197 in Martin,T., and D. M. Finch (eds.), Ecology and management of neotropical migratory birds.
44. Hutto, R. L. 1995. The importance of intense crown fires to some bird species in
45. Hutto, R. L. 1995. Can patterns of vegetation change in western
46. Villaseñor, J. F., and R. L. Hutto. 1995. The importance of agricultural areas for the conservation of neotropical migratory landbirds in western
47. Wright, V., S. J. Hejl, and R. L. Hutto. 1997. Conservation implications of a multi-scale study of Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus) habitat use in the Northern Rocky Mountains,
48. Hutto, R. L. 1998. Using landbirds as an indicator species group. Pp. 75-92 in Marzluff, J. M., and R. Sallabanks (eds.), Avian conservation: Research and Management. Island Press,
49. Hutto, R. L. 1998. On the importance of stopover sites to migrating birds. Auk 115:823-825.
50. Young, J. S., and R. L. Hutto. 1999. Habitat and landscape factors affecting cowbird distribution in the
51. Hutto, R. L., and J. S. Young. 1999. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-32, 72pp.
52. Hutto, R. L. 2000. On the importance of en-route periods to the conservation of migratory landbirds. Studies in Avian Biology 20:109-114.
53. Karl, J. W., P. J. Heglund, E. O. Garton, J. M. Scott, N. M. Wright, and R. L. Hutto. 2000. Sensitivity of species habitat-relationship model performance to factors of scale. Ecological Applications 10:1690-1705.
54. Young, J. S., and R. L. Hutto. 2002. Use of regional-scale exploratory studies to determine bird-habitat relationships. Pages 107–119 in J. M. Scott, P. J. Heglund, M. L. Morrison, J. B. Haufler, M. G. Raphael, W. A. Wall, and F. B. Samson, editors. Predicting species occurrences: issues of accuracy and scale. Island Press,
55. Young, J. S., and R. L. Hutto. 2002. Use of a landbird monitoring database to explore effects of partial-cut timber harvesting.
56. Hutto, R. L., and J. S. Young. 2002. Regional landbird monitoring: perspectives from the northern
57. Kotliar, N. B., S. Hejl, R. L. Hutto, V. A. Saab, C. P. Melcher, M. E. McFadzen. 2002. Effects of fire and post-fire salvage logging on avian communities in conifer-dominated forests of the western
58. Hejl, S. J., D. E. Mack, J. Young, J. Bednarz, and R. L. Hutto. 2002. Birds and changing landscape patterns in conifer forests of the north-central
59. Hutto, R. L. 2002. Stand-Replacement Fire…For the Birds? Page 6,
61. Kelly, J. F., and R. L. Hutto. 2005. An East-West comparison of migration in North American wood warblers. Condor 107:197-211.
62. Skagen, S. K., J. F. Kelly, C. van Riper III, R. L. Hutto, D. M. Finch, D. J. Krueper, and C. P. Melcher. 2005. Geography of spring landbird migration through riparian habitats in southwestern
63. Smucker, K.M.,
64. Hutto, R. L., and C. J. Ralph. 2005. Introduction: regional monitoring programs. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191:924-925.
65. Hutto, R. L. 2005. Northern Region Landbird Monitoring Program: a program designed to monitor more than long-term population trends. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191:956-962.
66. Kotliar, T., V. Saab, and
67. Young, J. S., J. R. Hoffland, and