Skip to content

A First Assessment of the Effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria Habitat on the Habitats and Terrestrial Bird Communities in the Coastal Dry Forest of Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico

Principal Investigator(s):

Fred C. Schaffner

Institution:

School of Natural Sciences and Technology, Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez, Inc. dba Universidad del Turabo

Project Term:

2017 - 2018

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, becoming the island’s most intense meteorological phenomenon on record, which resulted in massive crown loss and defoliation of mangroves and secondary coastal dry forest. Herein we present a preliminary assessment of the storm’s effects on land bird abundance and diversity at Jobos Bay in Salinas, Puerto Rico (Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, JBNERR) through a mist netting sampling of resident and migratory land birds in an interhabitat corridor connecting mangroves with coastal dry forest. Sampling began 5 days before the storm and from December 2017 to April 2018. Compared to the same period during the previous year we found slightly reduced total abundance, but similar or slightly increased biodiversity (species richness and Shannon-Weiner H’). We found a dramatic decrease in small granivores such as Common Ground Doves (Columbina passerina) and Black-faced Grassquits (Tiaris bicolor); a near complete absence of hummingbirds, and a decrease in Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis). We also observed the appearance of species new to this site including Orchard Orioles (Icterus spurius) and Eurasian Collard Doves (Streptopelia decaocto), and increased numbers of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and Grey Kingbirds (Tyrannus dominicensis), which suggests increased niche opportunities for birds of open habitats. A general description of the various study sites and of additional student presentations are is presented.

Program Report: A First Assessment of the Effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria Habitat on the Habitats and Terrestrial Bird Communities in the Coastal Dry Forest of Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico

Posted in

Leave a Comment





Scroll To Top