Eighty-Mile Beach is one of the 10 most populous sites for migratory birds in the Asian–Australasian Flyway. The birds come to Eighty-Mile Beach's tidal mudflats to feed on benthic organisms during their nonbreeding period prior to embarking on a 10,000–15,000-km migration to their breeding grounds in the Arctic. To better understand migratory birds' preferences for areas on the beach, satellite imagery was used to predict grain size and benthic invertebrate distributions. These data were statistically compared with data collected in the field to determine the accuracy of the predictions. Relationships were apparent between compared data, especially in respect to the actual benthic invertebrate distribution. Finally, feeding areas for different bird species were mapped according to where their favored foods would be found. Knowing where the birds should be feeding will help prioritize research and conservation efforts on Eighty-Mile Beach.
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Vol. 2008 • No. 243