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Arctic Shorebirds in North America

A Decade of Monitoring

Jonathan Robert Bart

Publication Year: 2012

Each year shorebirds from North and South America migrate thousands of miles to spend the summer in the Arctic. There they feed in shoreline marshes and estuaries along some of the most productive and pristine coasts anywhere. With so much available food they are able to reproduce almost explosively; and as winter approaches, they retreat south along with their offspring, to return to the Arctic the following spring. This remarkable pattern of movement and activity has been the object of intensive study by an international team of ornithologists who have spent a decade counting, surveying, and observing these shorebirds. In this important synthetic work, they address multiple questions about these migratory bird populations. How many birds occupy Arctic ecosystems each summer? How long do visiting shorebirds linger before heading south? How fecund are these birds? Where exactly do they migrate and where exactly do they return? Are their populations growing or shrinking? The results of this study are crucial for better understanding how environmental policies will influence Arctic habitats as well as the far-ranging winter habitats used by migratory shorebirds.

Published by: University of California Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Contributors

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xiv

...Long-term monitoring of populations is of paramount importance to understanding responses of organisms to global environmental change and to evaluating whether conservation practices are yielding intended results through time (Wiens 2009). The population status of many shorebird species, the focus of this volume...

Part I: Introduction

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1. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

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pp. 3-8

...We report results from shorebird surveys in the North American arctic, defined here as Bird Conservation Regions 2 and 3 of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (http://www.nabci.net/International/ English/bcrmap.html). The surveys estimate population size and trend and provide...

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2. METHODS

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pp. 9-16

...Detecting declines in population size is one of the highest priorities of the shorebird initiatives in Canada and the United States. The quantitative goal is 80% power to detect a 50% decline, occurring during no more than 20 years, with a significance level of 0.15, using a twotailed test, and incorporating...

Part II: Regional Reports

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3. SHOREBIRD SURVEYS IN WESTERN ALASKA

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pp. 19-36

...Surveys for breeding shorebirds were conducted during 2001–2002 in four National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) in western Alaska— Alaska Maritime, Alaska Peninsula, Yukon Delta, and Selawik. The sizes of our study areas on and adjacent to these four refuges were...

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4. NORTH SLOPE OF ALASKA

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pp. 37-96

...We used a combination of ground and aerial surveys to characterize the abundance and distribution of shorebirds and other birds on the North Slope of Alaska. The double sampling method, which we used for the ground surveys, is described in Bart et al. (chapter 2, this volume). The aerial surveys...

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5. YUKON NORTH SLOPE AND MACKENZIE DELTA

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pp. 97-112

...We conducted surveys on the Yukon North Slope and in the Mackenzie Delta eastward past the tip of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula to the Anderson River Delta, NWT, in June and July of 2005 through 2008. We surveyed 171 12-ha “rapid” plots and recorded 417 breeding pairs of 13 species of shorebirds...

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6. SOUTHAMPTON AND COATS ISLANDS

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pp. 113-126

...As part of the PRISM effort to generate arctic-wide estimates of shorebird populations, we conducted surveys on Southampton and Coats Islands, Nunavut, Canada, in June and July of 2004 and 2006. We surveyed 53 12-ha plots rapidly on foot, and recorded 310 breeding pairs of shorebirds. We conducted...

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7. PRINCE CHARLES, AIR FORCE, AND BAFFIN ISLANDS

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pp. 127-140

...As part of an effort to generate arcticwide estimates of shorebird populations, we conducted surveys on Prince Charles and Air Force Islands in 1996–1997 and the western portion of Baffin Island in 2003–2004. Using the Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) methodology, we surveyed 151 plots of 12–16 ha rapidly on foot...

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8. SMALL-SCALE AND RECONNAISSANCE SURVEYS

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pp. 141-156

...This chapter describes small-scale surveys at seven locations in arctic Canada. At Kent Peninsula, the standard double sampling method (Bart et al., chapter 2, this volume) was used to estimate densities and population sizes. Shorebird densities were low except on Melbourne Island...

Part III: Methodology

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9. AERIAL SURVEYS: A WORTHWHILE ADD-ON TO PRISM SURVEYS, ESPECIALLY IN THE INTERIOR

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pp. 159-176

...The ground-based PRISM surveys often require lengthy periods of transit between plots. Conducting aerial surveys during transit can decrease time available for ground surveys (by requiring slower flight speeds), but can provide additional data about birds’ abundance and distribution. Previously...

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10. SURVEY METHODS FOR WHIMBREL

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pp. 177-184

...Whimbrel breed at low densities, are patchily distributed, and have proven difficult to survey with traditional PRISM methods. We tested a double sampling methodology that used aerial surveys as the “rapid” component to determine whether this method was more effective at surveying Whimbrel...

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11. TIER 2 SURVEYS

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pp. 185-194

...The Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) has been designed to monitor shorebirds across their breeding range. Tier 2 of Arctic PRISM provides region- and site-specific population trend and demographic information. When fully implemented...

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12. ARCTIC PRISM TIER 3: PROGRESS NOTES FROM THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES–NUNAVUT BIRD CHECKLIST SURVEY

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pp. 195-200

...Checklist data comprise the third tier of sampling for the Arctic PRISM program. Data provided to date to the Northwest Territories– Nunavut Bird Checklist Survey has led to the revision of breeding ranges for 20 shorebird species in the Canadian arctic. Checklist data...

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13. DESIGN OF FUTURE SURVEYS

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pp. 201-210

...This brief chapter addresses two related issues: how effort should be allocated to different parts of the sampling plan and, given optimal allocation, how large a sample will be required to achieve the PRISM accuracy target. Simulations based on data collected to date...

Part IV: Synthesis

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14. SUMMARY

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pp. 213-238

...This chapter summarizes results in previous chapters by providing estimated densities and population sizes, in the areas we have surveyed, for Alaska, Canada, and both regions combined. A total of 1,554 rapid plots, covering...

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15. PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE PRISM SURVEYS

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pp. 239-244

...This chapter summarizes strengths of the current Arctic PRISM method, discusses how it can be improved, and suggests which regions should have highest priority for future surveys. Strengths of the method include its ability to be used in conjunction with intensive surveys to address specific management...

Appendix A: Other methods for estimating trends of arctic birds

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pp. 245-252

Appendix B: Regional density estimates

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pp. 253-260

Appendix C: Common, scientific, and abbreviated names for species included in the volume

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pp. 261-264

Literature Cited

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pp. 265-278

Index

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pp. 279-300

Complete Series List

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pp. 301-302


E-ISBN-13: 9780520953499
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520273108

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Studies in Avian Biology

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Shore birds -- Canada, Northern.
  • Shore birds -- Alaska.
  • Bird surveys -- Canada, Northern.
  • Bird surveys -- Alaska.
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