The objective of this study was to determine the implications of extreme tidal events on duration of stay and behavior of Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) during migratory stopover in Cobequid Bay, Nova Scotia. This area is part of the Bay of Fundy and experiences the largest tidal range in the world. Radiotelemetry was used to monitor duration of stay of 30 adult and seven juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers. Adults arriving in Cobequid Bay early in the migration period experienced a greater number of extreme high tides (> 15 m) that submerged preferred roost sites, and stayed on average 8.1 days longer than those that arrived later. Juvenile duration of stay was not significantly different from adults. When tides exceeded 15 m, Semipalmated Sandpipers engaged in over ocean flocking at high tide; however, this behavior was not observed when high tides were 13.6 m or less. These extra flights led to higher energy expenditure by early migrants, requiring an estimated 3.8 to 4.3-day increase in length of stay to reach the same mass as later migrants. In the future, predicted sea level rise could increase the frequency of extreme tidal amplitudes and result in greater energetic costs during Semipalmated Sandpiper stopover.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1