Terns and Plovers

Terns and Plovers

The Federal listing status of interior least terns ( Sternula antillarum, endangered; hereafter “terns”) and Northern Great Plains piping plovers ( Charadrius melodus, threatened; hereafter “plovers”) has motivated substantial work to understand ecological relationships between these birds and their nesting habitats. Both species build nests on shoreline and sandbar habitat throughout the Northern Great Plains. Habitat located within the Missouri River system supports nesting populations and is an important component of recovery efforts for both species. Since 2005, NPWRC research on terns and plovers has broadly focused on describing the demographics of populations (i.e. estimating reproductive rates, survival rates, and emigration/immigration rates) while identifying the environmental factors underlying population demography. To this end, our work has featured a diversity of studies of the years, including (but not limited to) investigations of the: relationship of tern foraging behavior to reproductive success, drivers of among habitat dispersal, influence of flood created habitat on reproductive success, use of remote sensing tools to quantify tern and plover nesting habitat, and development of predictive models to identify reservoir and alkali lakes nesting habitat for piping plovers. In addition, NPWRC continues to serve a critical role in the assessment, implementation, and creation of field methods and materials widely applicable to research conducted on large riverine ecosystems.




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