Foraging ecology of least terns and piping plovers nesting on Central Platte River sandpits and sandbars

Prior to human alteration, the Platte River probably supported nesting least terns and piping plovers on mid-channel sandbars that were largely devoid of vegetation due to high spring flows. Modification of the river’s flow pattern has lowered the frequency and intensity of scouring events, resulting in vegetation encroachment and stabilization of sandbars. This has led to declining quality and abundance of unvegetated sand nesting habitat favored by least terns and piping plovers. Foraging habitat for piping plovers, consisting of sparsely vegetated moist or dry sand with high invertebrate production, has probably also declined in quality and abundance. However, least terns forage on small fish in side channels, sloughs, tributaries, shallow-water habitats adjacent to sandbars, and in the main channel. Therefore, changing quality and abundance of least tern foraging habitat is prob [see Narratives for more information.]

Principal Investigator(s):

Michael J Anteau

Mark H Sherfy

Project Status:

In Progress

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