Shorebirds are one of the fastest declining groups of birds in North America, with many of the long distance migrants showing population declines of at least 50% since the 1970s (State of the Birds Report 2014). These birds face a multitude of threats including increased predation, habitat degradation and loss, unsustainable hunting on the wintering grounds, and climate change (Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Conservation Business Strategy 2013). Effective conservation strategies must consider the full life cycle of these birds. However, due to the lack of basic biological information during migration, it is often unclear what conservation actions would be most effective at important stopover sites. The focus of this study is the Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla, SESA), a bird that is still common, but work on the wintering grounds (Morrison et al. 2012) and during migration (Gratto-Trevor et al. 2012) suggests a steep population decline. By learning more about SESA use of stopover habitat, a critical element in the annual migration cycles of these birds, we will be able to more effectively conserve SESAs and other migratory shorebirds in the region and across northeastern North America.
Program Report: Shorebird Stopover Ecology and Habitat Use at Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts
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