Response of predators to western sandpiper nest exclosures

  • Published source details Niehaus A.C., Ruthrauff D.R. & McCaffery B.J. (2004) Response of predators to western sandpiper nest exclosures. Waterbirds, 27, 79-82.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Can nest protection increase predation of adults and chicks?

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Can nest protection increase predation of adults and chicks?

    A replicated and controlled study in 2001 in the Yukon Delta, Alaska, USA, (Niehaus et al. 2004) found that survival of western sandpiper Calidris mauri nests was higher when they were protected by exclosures (see ‘Physically protect nests with individual exclosures/barriers’). However, after 17 days, long-tailed jaegers (skuas, which predate on sandpiper adults, chicks and eggs) Stercorarius longicaudus began associating exclosures with nests and targeting them (whilst ignoring control nests), causing sandpipers to flush, sometimes colliding with the exclosures. One chick died from cold exposure whilst adults were being harassed by jaegers and exclosures were removed after 19 days. Following exclosure removal, chicks from exclosure nests were less likely to survive than those from control nests, with some chicks being predated minutes after the removal of exclosures.


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