Reproductive ecology of the american oystercatcher (haematopus palliatus) in georgia
George, Russell Clay
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This study was initiated in 1999 with the objective of providing the first detailed breeding data for American Oystercatchers nesting at numerous sites and habitats along the Georgia coast. Surveys for oystercatcher clutches and mated pairs were conducted at three sites in 2000 and 2001, and measures of reproductive success and productivity were calculated. The effects of recreation on oystercatcher breeding were monitored at the same sites in 2001. Reproductive success was low and variable, but consistent with previous studies. Common causes of clutch failure were predation and flooding during storms. Reproductive success was slightly lower at marsh habitats than at beaches and sand spits, due to increased rates of flooding at marsh habitats. Recreation appeared to affect reproductive success negatively by influencing nesting habitat selection: more pairs nested in marsh habitats at sites where beaches were highly disturbed. Management should continue to address the need for undisturbed beach and sand spit habitat.