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Past Water Conditions Important to Wading Birds

Cara J

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While past research on wading bird numbers in the Florida Everglades focused only on water patterns and conditions of the time, researchers recently found that information on water conditions and availability from up to three years before is also important. “In the past, researchers had looked back only a matter of weeks, while I looked back three years in this study,” said James Beerens, the lead author of a new study published in PLOS ONE and an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Those three years are just as important, if not more important, than the current conditions.” In previous research that was published in The Auk, Beerens conducted field work where he captured over 200 wading birds in the Everglades including white ibises (Eudocimus albus) and great egrets (Ardea alba). Using radiotelemetry, he tracked the birds from an airplane, and noticed that the birds had been selecting habitats differently based on previous year conditions, but it wasn’t clear why. In this more recent study, Beerens and two professors from Florida Atlantic University delved deeper into those findings and examined existing data from 2000 to 2009 on population numbers of wading birds including great egrets, white ibises, and threatened wood [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/past-water-conditions-important-to-wading-birds/

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