Effects of artificial elevation of shell-piles on nesting success of four species of waterbird breeding on saltmarsh islands on the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia, USA

  • Published source details Rounds R.A., Erwin R.M. & Porter J.H. (2004) Nest-site selection and hatching success of waterbirds in coastal Virginia: some results of habitat manipulation. Journal of Field Ornithology, 75, 317-329


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide nesting habitat for birds that is safe from extreme weather

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide nesting habitat for birds that is safe from extreme weather

    A randomised, replicated and controlled paired study on three saltmarsh islands in Virginia, USA, in 2002 (Rounds et al. 2004) found that hatching success of four ground-nesting bird species (American oystercatchers Haematopus palliatus, common terns Sterna hirundo gull-billed terns S. nilotica, and black skimmers Rynchops niger) was no higher sections of oyster shell piles artificially raised by 15-20 cm than on control (unraised) areas of piles (common terns: 60% of 15 nests hatching at least one egg on raised areas vs. 42% of 26 on control areas; gull-billed terns: 62% of 13 nests on raised areas vs. 89% of nine on control areas). Too few oystercatchers or skimmers nested for comparisons to be made. No species showed a significant preference for either raised or control areas. The authors note that whilst there were no significant differences between hatching successes, raised nests at three of the five shell piles studied survived flooding whilst unraised nests did not.


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