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1 August 2009 Residence Probability and Population Size of Red Knots During Spring Stopover in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States
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Weekly counts of western Atlantic red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) at their Delaware Bay migration stopover site have suggested a major decline since the 1980s. We estimated red knot spring passage population size in the New Jersey Coast–Delaware Bay region (DENJ; 2004 and 2006) and Virginia (VA; 2006 and 2007), USA, by correcting weekly aerial counts for mean daily residence probability between counts in a Monte-Carlo simulation. We used daily telemetry relocations in mark–resight models to estimate mean daily residence probability. Average daily residence probability was approximately 1.0 in mid-May, 0.96–0.97 in the week of 22 May, and 0.64–0.77 after May 28 in DENJ in 2004 and 2006 and in VA in 2006. Average daily residency was approximately 0.88 in VA in 2007 from 22 May to 5 June. No birds moved from VA to DENJ in 2006 and only 2 birds (5.5%) moved in 2007. Stopover population sizes (±SE) in DENJ were 17,108 ± 1,322 in 2004 and 19,555 ± 831 in 2006, and in VA were 7,224 ± 389 in 2006 and 8,332 ± 718 in 2007, significantly greater than peak aerial counts. Years with similar peak counts had different residence probabilities; hence, adjustments for turnover should be used in the future to assess annual population changes. Our results suggest that VA can support a significant portion of this red knot subspecies during migration in at least some years. Managing red knots for recovery should entail improving our understanding of the use of other Atlantic Coast sites and protecting key coastal habitat from disturbance and development.

Jonathan B. Cohen, Sarah M. Karpanty, James D. Fraser, Bryan D. Watts, and Barry R. Truitt "Residence Probability and Population Size of Red Knots During Spring Stopover in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States," Journal of Wildlife Management 73(6), 939-945, (1 August 2009).
Published: 1 August 2009

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