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Update on Breeding Season Monitoring and Management Efforts in North Carolina Sue Cameron NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

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Presentation on theme: "Update on Breeding Season Monitoring and Management Efforts in North Carolina Sue Cameron NC Wildlife Resources Commission."— Presentation transcript:

1 Update on Breeding Season Monitoring and Management Efforts in North Carolina Sue Cameron NC Wildlife Resources Commission

2 Overview State listed as significantly rare and proposed for upgrade to species of special concern Only just beginning to collect coast-wide population and distribution data (first coast-wide survey conducted in 2004) Biologists with NC State University, Cape Lookout NS and Cape Hatteras NS have been monitoring oystercatchers on barrier island beaches since late 1990s Additional data needed on oystercatchers nesting at non- traditional sites

3 Breeding Population and Distribution 2004 was the first year NC conducted a coast-wide survey for breeding oystercatchers 701 individuals (337 pairs) counted Many found on remaining undeveloped barrier islands (e.g. Masonboro, Core Banks, Hatteras) About half the population found on barrier island beaches and half on estuarine islands

4 Breeding Distribution of American Oystercatchers American Oystercatcher Pair

5 2004 Distribution of American Oystercatchers by Nesting Habitat in NC Counties County Barrier Island Beach Natural Estuarine Island Dredged Material IslandOtherTotal Sand BeachShell RakeWrack Brunswick New Hanover Pender Onslow Carteret Hyde Dare Total165 (50%)69 (21%)27 (8%)13 (4%)48 (15%)5 (2%)327

6 Upcoming 2007 Coast-wide Survey Surveys for oystercatchers conducted in conjunction with colonial waterbird and piping plover surveys State Wildlife Grant funding will be used to conduct another complete survey this coming breeding season Need to cover approximately 311 linear miles of coastline plus estuaries Conducted with help from partnering agencies

7 Productivity Monitoring on Estuarine Islands Only one study looking at success on estuarine islands in NC (McGowan et al. 2005) Important to look at non-traditional sites -- 50% of NC’s oystercatchers nesting on estuarine islands Two projects recently afforded us the opportunity to try to collect additional data on natural and man-made islands in the sounds –Bogue Inlet channel relocation project –Parnell Island social attraction study near Oregon Inlet

8 NC Survey Areas Morehead City

9 Bogue Inlet Channel Relocation Project

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12 Bogue Inlet Condition of Habitats Primarily using shell rakes along AIWW and side channels Loss of nesting sites near inlet Mammalian predators probably present on shell rakes Human disturbance, overwash and great horned owls also a problem AIWW

13 Bogue Inlet AIWW 2006 Nesting Distribution Near Bogue Inlet

14 Success of American Oystercatchers on estuarine islands near Bogue Inlet, NC during the 2005/2006 breeding seasons # Pairs# NestsMayfield Nest Success # Chicks Fledged Fledging Success (fledglings/pair)

15 Summary of Bogue Inlet Nesting Birds did poorly in both 2005 and nests likely being lost to overwash, predation and human disturbance Interesting to note that in 2006 many of the lost chicks were fairly old (out of 4 pairs that hatched and lost broods, three had chicks that were into their 2 nd and 3 rd weeks when they disappeared) Plan on monitoring nests near Bogue Inlet at least through 2008

16 Social Attraction Study at Parnell Island Near Oregon Inlet Sidney Maddock

17 Parnell Is. Wells Is. Island MN Island L Oregon Inlet Island D Island E Island F Monitored success of American Oystercatchers at Oregon Inlet in conjunction with social attraction work

18 Condition of Habitats Birds using dredged material islands and marsh islands with fringing beach Most dredge islands state- owned and posted Islands far from mainland so few mammalian predators Evidence of mink and possibly rats on some islands Human disturbance and gulls can also be a problem In general, little forage on dredged material islands

19 2006 Nesting Distribution at Oregon Inlet Islands

20 Success of American Oystercatchers on estuarine islands near Oregon Inlet, NC during the 2005/2006 breeding seasons # Pairs# NestsMayfield Nest Success # Chicks Fledged Fledging Success (fledglings/pair)

21  In 2005, fledging success was 1.67 chicks/pair on natural sites and 0.22 chicks/pair on dredge sites  In 2006, fledging success was 0.50 chicks/pairs on natural sites and 0.90 chicks/pairs on dredge sites

22 Summary of Oregon Inlet Nesting In general, birds on Oregon Inlet islands appear to be doing fairly well when compared with birds in other areas Dredge island nesters may be impacted by proximity of food to nest sites Need to try to increase protection of state-owned sites (better signage, increased enforcement, someone stationed in northern part of state in future) Continue to work with the Corps to direct timing and placement of material and create new islands in area

23 Dredging Near Oregon Inlet

24 Comparison of 2005 Nesting Season on Barrier Islands and Estuarine Islands Nesting SuccessFledging Success (fledglings/pair) Oregon Inlet Islands Hatteras Island* Bodie Island* Bogue Inlet Islands South Core Banks* * data from Simons et al., 2005 annual report

25 Other Actions Across the State Working with Fort Fisher State Recreation Area to get extra protection –Predator control –Better human control Better protection at Masonboro Island Continue to be involved in review of beach stabilization projects and require environmental commitments to benefit oystercatcher and other waterbirds Completion of beach-nesting bird brochure

26 Questions?


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