The effects of predator exclosures on Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) nest success and productivity
Gingerella, Lauren Courtney
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Predator exclosures have been utilized as a technique to increase breeding productivity among several ground-nesting bird species. The effect of predator exclosures on Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) nest success and productivity was studied on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia during the 2016 and 2017 breeding seasons. Exclosures successfully excluded mammalian and avian predators. Nests with exclosures had a significantly higher daily survival rate than unexclosed nests in both breeding seasons. Significantly more chicks hatched and fledged per nesting attempt from the exclosed treatment group than the control group in 2017, but estimates for both treatments were similar 2016. The survival probabilities for chicks were not significantly different between treatments. If every Wilson’s Plover nest was protected with an exclosure the population growth rate was estimated to be in decline. Although exclosures can help increase productivity, additional predator management is necessary to maintain viable populations of beach-nesting shorebirds in this region.