Factors affecting piping plover chick survival in different brood- rearing habitats

J. P. Loegering, J. D. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

The decline of piping plover (Charadrius melodus) populations and subsequent listing as a threatened species has been attributed, in part, to low chick survival. The authors observed piping plover chicks to evaluate hypotheses of differential food resources, predation, and disturbance explaining differences in chick survival in three habitats on Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland. Chicks reared on the bay beach and island interior had higher daily survival rates (0.97, 0.99 vs 0.87), higher foraging rates and spent more time foraging than chicks reared on the ocean beach. Terrestrial arthropod abundance on the bay beach and island interior was greater than on the ocean beach in five of six cases. Overall disturbance rates did not differ among habitats. The number of predator trails did not differ among the three habitats. Piping plover chicks moved from ocean beach nest sites to the bay beach and island interior along ephemeral, vegetation-free paths created during winter storms. These paths should be maintained to enable piping plover chicks to move to the island interior and bay habitats where chick survival is greatest. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-655
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

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