Project:

Holberton 2013-14 (#8)
Short name: HolbSESA
Short description: In 2013-14, we tracked movements of ~ 75 Semipalmated Sandpipers in Downeast Maine to better understand stopover habitat use.
Description: We applied nanotags to Semipalmated sandpipers (30 SESA + 4 "other" in 2013; 41 SESA in 2014) captured on stopover during fall migration in the Narraguagus Bay area in Downeast Maine. This region is primarily active with fish, lobster, and shellfish harbesting, and represents a relatively undisturbed area compared to coastal areas in southern Maine that are heavily used by beach-goers. Birds were captured on feeding areas (mudflats) via passive mistnetting during low tide, and at roost sites on offshore rock ledge by hand-held rocket netting from a small boat during high tide. All tagged SESAs were subsequently detected and showed regular, tide-cycle-dependent movements between feeding areas along the rivers leading into Narraguagus Bay and offshore ledge roost sites. In general, juvenile (HY) birds were more likely to be in lower body condition (fat-free mass) compared to adults and showed a longer post-deployment period leading to departure than adults did. A significant finding in this study is the confirmation that birds staging in this area depart directly from it to embark on a trans-oceanic flight to Central/So America. In both years, none of the SESAs tagged at this site were detected in areas to the north/east or south. This is in contrast to birds tagged on stopover in southern Maine and illustrates the importance of the Downeast sites in supporting efficient migration. In 2015-16, this project will move to southern Maine to investigate stopover behavior at two areas of high human activity to compare within-site movements, stopover period, and departure decisions of these birds to those Downeast, and to determine currently unknown feeding and roosting sites.
Project contact: Rebecca Holberton, Laboratory of Avian Biology
Researchers: Ariel Lenske
Jamie McLaren
John Brzustowski
Paul Smith
Rebecca Holberton, Laboratory of Avian Biology
Sjoerd Duijns
Tags: 76 (table)
Species: 71 Semipalmated Sandpiper
2 Least Sandpiper
2 Semipalmated Plover
Creation date: 2013-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
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