Effectiveness of predator exclosures for pectoral sandpiper nests in Alaska

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) Science Article 1


During the summer of 1992 we placed wire-mesh exclosures around 13 of 52 Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) nests near Oliktok Point on the North Slope of Alaska. Exclosures were 66-69 cm in diameter, 31-cm tall, and were made of 5 X 10-cm mesh weld-wire with 3-cm mesh chicken wire tops. The 5 X 10-cm mesh size allowed females to enter and exit an exclosure easily, and design of the exclosure provided sufficient anchoring to prevent Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) from digging under or raising exclosures. Daily survival rate of protected nests (0.982) was significanfiy greater than that of unprotected nests (0.717). In considering the daily survival rates of protected and unprotected nests, the behavioral responses of Pectoral Sandpipers to exclosures, and the fact that no protected nests were depredated, we conclude that this exclosure was effective under our study conditions. We offer specific considerations for designing exclosures and suggest that exclosuresimilar to the one we descibe may be used to protect other shorebird species.

Veronica B. Estelle, Todd J. Mabee, and Adrian H. Farmer, J. Field Ornithol., 67(3):447-452

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