Response of predators to Western Sandpiper nest exclosures

By: , and 



In 2001, predator exclosures were used to protect nests of the Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) in western Alaska. During the exclosure experiment, nest contents in exclosures had significantly higher daily survival rates than control nests, however, late in the study predators began to cue in on exclosures and predate the nest contents. An Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) dug under one exclosure and took the newly hatched chicks, and Long-tailed Jaegers (Stercorarius longicaudus) learned to associate exclosures with active nests and repeatedly visited them. The jaegers attempted to gain access to exclosed nests and pursued adult sandpipers as they emerged from the exclosures. The exclosures were removed to reduce potential mortality to adult and young sandpipers, but subsequently, post-exclosure nests had lower daily survival rates than controls during the same time period. Predation of post-exclosure eggs and chicks highlighted the lasting influence of the exclosure treatment on offspring survival because predators probably remembered nest locations. Researchers are urged to use caution when considering use of predator exclosures in areas where jaegers occur.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Response of predators to Western Sandpiper nest exclosures
Series title Waterbirds
DOI 10.1675/1524-4695(2004)027[0079:ROPTWS]2.0.CO;2
Volume 27
Issue 1
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher Waterbird Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 4 p.
First page 79
Last page 82
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Kanaryarmiut Field Station, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
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