Recent declines in apparent survival and survey counts of snowy plovers breeding in the southern high plains of Texas

Sarah T. Saalfeld, Warren C. Conway, David A. Haukos, William P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We quantified changes in long-term Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) survey counts and return rates, estimated current sex and age-specific apparent survival and encounter rates, and calculated recruitment thresholds needed to maintain a stable population in the Southern High Plains of Texas. Mean survey counts of adult Snowy Plovers decreased by 78% at one saline lake (from 80 adults/survey to 18 adults/survey) from 1999-2000 to 2008-2010 but remained consistent at an alternate lake (from 45 adults/survey to 41 adults/survey). Adult and juvenile return rates have similarly declined within this time frame by 25 and 62%, respectively. Long-term declines in return rates may be the result of increased mortality from declining habitat conditions either within or outside the breeding season. Current estimates of adult (65%) and juvenile (12%) apparent survival are lower than most other estimates for Snowy Plovers throughout their range. Current estimates of adult and juvenile apparent survival and return rates indicate 5.8-10.0 hatchlings per adult per year are needed to maintain the current population without immigration, a 3-5 fold increase in the past 10 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume125
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Charadrius nivosus
  • Cormack-Jolly-Seber
  • Southern High Plains
  • Texas
  • apparent survival
  • demographics
  • saline lakes

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