Presentation Abstract

Title: Shorebirds across the Western Hemisphere: Understanding the linkages.
Session Title: Multi-scale Modeling for Conservation of Migratory Birds
Session Number: 63
Session Time: Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012, 1:30 PM - 5:20 PM
Presentation Time: Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012, 4:40 PM - 5:20 PM
Presentation Number: 8
Author(s): Susan K. Skagen1, Brad A. Andres2, 1U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins, CO, 2U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, CO, Contact:
Abstract Body: Shorebirds represent a diverse avian group in body size, cross-seasonal habitat use patterns, migration distance, and distribution throughout the Western Hemisphere. Shorebirds are renowned for their extraordinary long-distance migrations, with some traveling as many as 15,000 km between southern South American wintering grounds and Canadian Arctic breeding areas. The migration period is particularly demanding and is suspected to elevate mortality rates and theoretically limit population growth of some bird species. Migration stopover ecology has been the focus of work on population estimation and distribution modeling of en route shorebird migrants of the interior prairie wetland landscape of North America, projecting future distributions of shorebirds based on species distribution models and high resolution climate data, and examining contemporary and future patterns of winds aloft across the prairie region using dynamically downscaled (high resolution) climate data. To advance conservation by identifying which part of the annual cycle is limiting growth of many shorebird populations and to understand cross-seasonal linkages, scientists affiliated with the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group collectively are studying shorebirds across their annual cycles to quantify movements, body condition, population vital rates, and threats to population persistence. Linkages between migration stopover and population demography are illustrated via case studies of several species, including Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), Western Sandpipers (C. mauri), Red Knots (C. canutus), Pectoral Sandpipers (C. melanotos), and others. Modeling efforts, including dynamic programming and multistate capture-recapture models, have uncovered clear linkages such as enhanced reproductive success of female Pectoral Sandpipers and higher apparent survival of Red Knots arriving at breeding grounds with greater fat reserves from migration. This emerging body of knowledge will enhance the comprehensive protection provided by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.

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