Colonial Nesting Wading Bird Tracking and Habitat Use Assessment—Two Species
US Department of the Interior
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)
Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA
The project will address information gaps for the populations of wading birds breeding along the Alabama coast to better inform restoration planning. The project will track individual target wading bird species to help determine their movements and habitat use. The goals of the study are to improve understanding of the extent to which declines in colonial nesting wading bird populations result from habitat limitations versus other potential causes such as increased prevalence of predators or human disturbance. Data collected through the project will provide useful insights into local factors affecting wading bird survival and reproduction, thereby assisting the Alabama Area Trustee Implementation Group (AL TIG) with planning more effective restoration of bird species injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The specific objectives of the project are: 1) determine daily and seasonal movements among nesting colonies at three important coastal Alabama breeding areas—Mississippi Sound, Gaillard Island, and Perdido Bay; 2) determine seasonal and annual home ranges for birds marked at sites identified above and document fidelity to specific nesting colonies, dispersal timing, and regional dispersal among known breeding colonies within the study area; 3) document average foraging distances, time away from nests, and important foraging areas within the study area; and 4) determine weekly and seasonal habitat use within the study area. The project will also help determine site-specific survival estimates for both juveniles and adults, providing valuable information as to potential spatial variation in this demographic parameter.