We studied the effect of great-horned owl (Bubo virginianus) removal on piping plover (Charadrius melodus) hatchling survival on Missouri River sandbars (2008–2009). Owl removal increased daily survival of piping plover chicks in 2008 (β = 2.03, 95% CI: 0.04–4.02), but this effect decreased with increasing age of the chick (β = -0.42, 95% CI: -0.81 to -0.03). Results for 2009 were similar in direction but not significant. Survival was higher in 2008 than in 2009, regardless of owl capture, indicating that even if owl capture consistently were effective at increasing survival, overall survival resulting from trapping may vary annually. Owl trapping was a successful means to raise chick survival on the Missouri River in ≥1 year and could be used at other sites experiencing depressed chick survival due to avian predators.
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Vol. 75 • No. 2