Presentation Abstract

The Salish Sea contains important sites for shorebirds, including migrants and winter residents. There is a need for practical, informative and easily-applied monitoring procedures and goals. Counts at stopover sites are on their own uninformative, because they are strongly affected by factors unseen by local observers. A fall in the usage of a site might signal a global population decline, but could also be due to a reduction of that site’s quality, to an increase in site quality elsewhere such that some birds redistribute, or to changes in migratory behavior. A good framework for assessing the health of shorebird populations must encompass these alternatives. We propose a monitoring method that focusses on Pacific dunlins, the most widespread and common winter resident shorebird in the Salish Sea. The method combines a mid-winter count (Audubon Christmas Bird Count), mapping to measure the size and danger of individual sites, and a behavioral assay. Analyses of range-wide CBC counts of Pacific dunlins 1975 – 2010 give an overall demographic picture showing strong fluctuations. These data also show that the population redistributes somewhat each year, in a way that balances starvation risk and predation danger across sites. Behavioral assays give an index of how much risk shorebirds take at each site to attain requirements. We describe possible assay procedures, and how combinations of census, site attributes and measures of risk-taking at a number of sites relate to local and global changes. Our method will help ecologists and natural resource managers assess whether census changes are local, regional or global, and to diagnose the underlying causes. We also discuss how these measures might be used to measure the effectiveness of estuarine restoration projects from the shorebird point of view.

Session Title

Shorebird Monitoring in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Shore birds, Monitoring, Estuary

Conference Track

SSE7: Monitoring: Species and Habitats

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE7-239

Start Date

4-4-2018 4:45 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 5:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 4:45 PM Apr 4th, 5:00 PM

A practical and informative sandpiper monitoring procedure for the Salish Sea

The Salish Sea contains important sites for shorebirds, including migrants and winter residents. There is a need for practical, informative and easily-applied monitoring procedures and goals. Counts at stopover sites are on their own uninformative, because they are strongly affected by factors unseen by local observers. A fall in the usage of a site might signal a global population decline, but could also be due to a reduction of that site’s quality, to an increase in site quality elsewhere such that some birds redistribute, or to changes in migratory behavior. A good framework for assessing the health of shorebird populations must encompass these alternatives. We propose a monitoring method that focusses on Pacific dunlins, the most widespread and common winter resident shorebird in the Salish Sea. The method combines a mid-winter count (Audubon Christmas Bird Count), mapping to measure the size and danger of individual sites, and a behavioral assay. Analyses of range-wide CBC counts of Pacific dunlins 1975 – 2010 give an overall demographic picture showing strong fluctuations. These data also show that the population redistributes somewhat each year, in a way that balances starvation risk and predation danger across sites. Behavioral assays give an index of how much risk shorebirds take at each site to attain requirements. We describe possible assay procedures, and how combinations of census, site attributes and measures of risk-taking at a number of sites relate to local and global changes. Our method will help ecologists and natural resource managers assess whether census changes are local, regional or global, and to diagnose the underlying causes. We also discuss how these measures might be used to measure the effectiveness of estuarine restoration projects from the shorebird point of view.