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projects > monitoring of wading bird reproduction in water conservation areas 1, 2, and 3 of the everglades, and study of survival and movements of juvenile wood storks

Monitoring of Wading Bird Reproduction in Water Conservation Areas 1, 2, and 3 of the Everglades, and Study of Survival and Movements of Juvenile Wood Storks

wood stork
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
Project Investigator: H. Franklin Percival

Project Start Date: 2005 End Date: 2006


Summary

This project will monitor wading bird reproductive responses in WCAs 1, 2 and 3 by conducting systematic aerial surveys and comprehensive ground surveys using GPS-guided systematic airboat transects, and will study the survival and movements of individual storks through the use of satellite telemetry.

The work is to monitor responses of breeding wading birds to hydrological conditions in the water conservation areas (WCAs) of the Everglades, and to initiate a project designed to reduce uncertainty in predicting population responses of endangered Wood Storks to restoration activities.

Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) are of special interest with regard to the restoration of the South Florida Ecosystem, both because wetlands of south Florida are considered prime habitat for this federally endangered species, and because the storks' reproductive responses are thought to be an indicator of several aspects of normal ecosystem function. Although considerable reproductive information exists (e.g., fecundity, long term record of nesting numbers, behavior, reproductive parameters) there is almost no information about juvenile or adult survival. The lack of this information means that it is impossible to construct justifiable demographic models for this species. This lack also means that it is impossible to calculate the level or periodicity of reproduction needed to maintain a stable population, or to predict population responses to habitat loss or improvement. In addition, genetic information indicates that storks nesting in south Florida are simply a fluid subset of the larger southeastern U.S. population, yet the movements of these birds, and the specific habitats used are poorly known. The importance of wetlands outside the Everglades, to storks nesting inside the Everglades is a key uncertainty in predicting responses of storks to south Florida restoration.

Scope of Work

 

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