Degradation of nesting habitat for coastal birds has led to the use of nontraditional nesting habitat. The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) is listed as a “Species of High Concern” by the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and is declining in the southern portion of its U.S. breeding range, where ∼50% of breeding oystercatchers nest on shell substrate instead of beachfront habitat. We measured daily survival rates during incubation and chick rearing in shell rake habitats over five breeding seasons in the Cape Romain region of South Carolina, USA. Of 354 nesting attempts monitored, 16.1% hatched at least one egg. During incubation, daily survival rate was 0.938, corresponding to 22.8% success to hatching (nest success). For broods, daily survival was 0.991, or 74.0% success from hatching to fledging. Productivity in the Cape Romain region is primarily being lost during the incubation phase, when nests are exposed to overwash and predation. Mobile chicks may, however, be able to avoid flood events or predators by relocating to higher or more protected portions of a shell rake. Based on comparative data for American Oystercatchers from elsewhere in their range, it does not appear that shell rakes in the Cape Romain region are inferior breeding habitat. Our data suggest that conservation actions targeting nest and chick loss from flooding and predation have the greatest opportunity to enhance reproductive success in this core breeding area, and that an assessment of the availability, structure, avian use, and protection status of shell rakes is warranted.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 116 • No. 4