Long-billed Dowitcher Migration Ecology
Understanding stopover strategies and migratory connectivity for habitat conservation
Migratory shorebirds rely on a network of wetlands spread across large landscapes during their annual cycle. During migration, shorebirds will stopover at specific wetland complexes for different purposes and lengths of time. Understanding stopover strategies at these complexes, and pathways between stopovers and wintering areas, are imperative to inform effective habitat management and conservation strategies. This is especially true for shorebirds that use inland migratory routes where water is a finite resource and often highly managed.
Point Blue scientists captured 81 Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) during August-September 2012 and 2013 in the Klamath Basin, a migratory stopover along the Oregon-California border. They assessed flight feather molt status and attached VHF radio-tags (Lotek coded nanotags) to determine (1) their length of stay in the region and (2) winter destinations in California’s Central Valley.
Silver-haired Bat Migratory Stopover Ecology
Several species of bats make annual long-distance migrations, but questions about if/how bats use stopover sites to rest and refuel remain unanswered. Silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) are a widespread migratory North American species. Previous study has suggested Long Point, Ontario (north shore of Lake Erie) as a potential stopover site for this species.
We captured silver-haired bats during fall migration at Long Point and used a digital radio-telemetry array to monitor their movements over an area ~ 20 x 40 km, documenting stopover duration, and departure direction. The question of whether bats flew across Lake Erie was a particular concern given proposed offshore wind energy development on Lake Erie.
Automated Datalogging Case Study
Cape Gannets, Morus capensis, South Africa
Automated long-term monitoring for time-activity budgets
Climate-driven and anthropogenic pressures are increasing on fish stocks, which is linked to Seabird demographics, diet and particularly foraging behaviour. Seabirds, such as Cape Gannets, can respond to variations in prey availability by adjusting their time-activity budgets.
In this study, a long-term method for monitoring timeactivity budgets using leg-ring-mounted VHF tags and datalogging receivers is tested.
Cape Gannets breed colonially, are long-lived and highly site faithful (breeding/nesting), so are an ideal species for trialling this monitoring method.
Radio-tracking Case Study
Whinchats, Saxicola rubetra, Slovenia
Survival & predator avoidance in the post-fledgling period
It is well known that European populations of farmland birds, are decreasing due to modern agricultural practices. The ‘stay-and-hide’ strategy for predator avoidance is ineffective against agricultural mowing machinery.
In the study area, Ljubljansko barje, Slovenia, the Whinchat population has decreased by 50% in the last 10 years. Mortality caused by earlier mowing is highly responsible for this decline, after habitat change and reduced invertebrate food.Survival and behavioural data in juvenile Whinchats after fledgling is limited so the aims of this study were to…
Ovenbird-PinPoint case study
The strength of migratory connectivity, the degree to which migratory individuals are arranged geographically during two or more stages of the annual cycle, remains largely unknown for most migratory bird species. Yet, over 75% of bird species that breed in the northern temperate zone are migratory to some degree. Knowing the strength of migratory connectivity is critical for understanding population dynamics, seasonal interactions, life history strategies and implementing effective conservation strategies.
Project Update - N/a’an ku sê Research Programme
Monitoring of 4 Namibian cheetahs with Sirtrack GPS Collars
The monitoring of perceived conflict cheetahs in Namibia continues with research technology support from Sirtrack.
Currently, four cheetahs are followed intensively and provide valuable ecological data as well as management information.
Unlocking the Secrets of Little Spotted Kiwi
Over the past year, Sirtrack has been working with Helen Taylor, a PhD student at the Allan Wilson Centre at Victoria University of Wellington on her research into inbreeding and reproductive success in little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii).
The smallest of New Zealand’s five species of kiwi, little spots are also the second rarest with just 1,600 individuals remaining, all of which are descended from five individuals translocated to Kapiti Island in the early 1900s. This extreme bottleneck has resulted in very low genetic diversity in little spotted kiwi and it’s unclear what effect this and subsequent inbreeding might be having on the future survival prospects of this species.
Forest Birds of Kaua´i
Working with Naankuse
Sirtrack are proud to be associated with the N/a’an ku sê wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Marlice van Vuuren, one of Namibia´s most well known conservationist, together with her husband Dr. Rudie van Vuuren and their pharmacist friend Chris Heunis started N/a’an ku sê Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007.
Journey of the Emperor Chick
Barbara Wienecke of the Australian Antarctic Division has been researching the behaviour of emperor penguins using Sirtrack KiwiSat 202 PTTs.
Barbara Wienecke, B Raymond and G Robertson have been studying the at-sea distribution of fledgling emperor penguins with fledglings being satellite tracked on their maiden voyage from colonies at Taylor Glacier and Auster.
Sirtrack working with Emperor Penguin "Happy Feet"
Emperor Penguin Happy Feet was found on Peka Peka Beach in June and has since captivated the nations hearts.
Happy Feet is being treated by specialists in New Zealand under the auspices of the Wellington Zoo. and experts from the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Te Papa are assisting with assessing when Happy Feet will be ready to re-enter the wild.
Kangaroo Research Using GPS Collars
Don Fletcher and Claire Wimpenny of the Conservation Planning and Research Unit in ACT, Australia, are researching the behaviour of kangaroos using GPS collars. Here’s a report on the research so far:
Australia´s capital city, Canberra, is home to thousands of eastern grey kangaroos. They dwell in the urban nature reserves and open space areas, often venturing into the suburban areas to feed at night.
Cheetah Conservation Fund
The world's fastest land mammal the cheetah is losing its race for survival. Once common throughout Africa and Asia the cheetah is now on the endangered list. Today the species is extinct from more than 20 countries and it is estimated that only 10,000 to 12,500 animals remain.
Tarly the loggerhead turtle
In November 2007 an injured female loggerhead turtle was washed up on Baylys Beach in the north west of New Zealand. She was rescued by Department of Conservation staff and delivered to Kelly Tarlton Antarctic Encounter Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Auckland in an effort to nurse her back to full strength.
Rafael the turtle and Australia Zoo
Rafael, a 120kg adult male loggerhead turtle was rescued by Australia Zoo conservation staff in 2009 after he was spotted floating off–shore with a crab pot line entangled around his neck and flipper.
Tracking crocodiles with Australia Zoo
In August 2007, Australia Zoo joined forces with The University of Queensland and Queensland Parks and Wildlife to track the movements and behaviour of estuarine crocodiles.
Saving kiwi at Lake Waikaremoana
The Lake Waikaremoana Hapu Restoration Trust manages the local kiwi conservation work at Lake Waikaremoana in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Research has shown that at least ninety percent of juvenile kiwi on the mainland fails to reach adulthood. Pests such as stoats are attributed as the main cause of the decline for kiwi located in mainland forests.
Meerkat in the Kalahari
The Kalahari Meerkat Project is a long–term research project focussing on meerkat populations in Africa’s Kalahari Desert. The project aims to gain more understanding of the evolution of cooperative behaviour.