Presentation Title

Say Cheese: Utilization of Trail Cameras Brings New Monitoring Techniques to Endangered Shorebird Recovery on Ormond Beach

Faculty Mentor

Cynthia Hartley

Start Date

17-11-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 2:30 PM

Location

CREVELING 29

Session

POSTER 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

physical_mathematical_sciences

Abstract

The Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover (WSP) (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) is a small shorebird that nests and winters on the west coast beaches of North America. Although the species has evolved to survive in a dynamic beach environment, it was listed as federally threatened in 1993 because of low population numbers due to loss of habitat, human disturbance, and predation. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recovery plan requires nesting outcome to be tracked to monitor progress towards species recovery goals. Standard methods rely on human-orientated monitoring instead of utilizing available technology to remotely track nesting outcome.

Trail cameras were used concurrently with traditional techniques for the 2018 nesting season on Ormond Beach in Oxnard, California. Nearly 4,000 hours were logged with over 100 predator sightings. Twelve out of 35 nests had cameras for the entire brood cycle (28 days) and one had a camera for part of the time. Out of these nests, cameras captured a definitive outcome for 67% of them (8 nests) including exact time of hatch (4 nests). Depredation of chicks was documented for 2 nests after hatching. Monitors directly witnessed only 32% of outcomes (7 nests). Two were observed actively hatching, four were seen with chicks in or near the nest, and one was spotted depredated. The remaining nest outcomes were established using deduction (68%).

Trail cameras can monitor nests continuously and are less intrusive. They provide insight into nesting outcomes, while traditional monitoring can require deduction and luck to determine nest fate. This enables a more conclusive account of the WSP's breeding season chronology and reveals more of their natural behaviors. Furthermore, the ability to accurately document the timing of nest outcome is critical for determining the number of breeding adults in order to fulfill recovery plan objectives.

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Nov 17th, 12:30 PM Nov 17th, 2:30 PM

Say Cheese: Utilization of Trail Cameras Brings New Monitoring Techniques to Endangered Shorebird Recovery on Ormond Beach

CREVELING 29

The Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover (WSP) (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) is a small shorebird that nests and winters on the west coast beaches of North America. Although the species has evolved to survive in a dynamic beach environment, it was listed as federally threatened in 1993 because of low population numbers due to loss of habitat, human disturbance, and predation. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recovery plan requires nesting outcome to be tracked to monitor progress towards species recovery goals. Standard methods rely on human-orientated monitoring instead of utilizing available technology to remotely track nesting outcome.

Trail cameras were used concurrently with traditional techniques for the 2018 nesting season on Ormond Beach in Oxnard, California. Nearly 4,000 hours were logged with over 100 predator sightings. Twelve out of 35 nests had cameras for the entire brood cycle (28 days) and one had a camera for part of the time. Out of these nests, cameras captured a definitive outcome for 67% of them (8 nests) including exact time of hatch (4 nests). Depredation of chicks was documented for 2 nests after hatching. Monitors directly witnessed only 32% of outcomes (7 nests). Two were observed actively hatching, four were seen with chicks in or near the nest, and one was spotted depredated. The remaining nest outcomes were established using deduction (68%).

Trail cameras can monitor nests continuously and are less intrusive. They provide insight into nesting outcomes, while traditional monitoring can require deduction and luck to determine nest fate. This enables a more conclusive account of the WSP's breeding season chronology and reveals more of their natural behaviors. Furthermore, the ability to accurately document the timing of nest outcome is critical for determining the number of breeding adults in order to fulfill recovery plan objectives.