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Wild Cam: How Airplanes Ruffle Plover Feathers

Cara J

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Wilson’s plovers (Charadrius wilsonia) would probably do well with a little peace and quiet when incubating their eggs — whether from natural predators, humans, vehicles and, according to recent research, aircraft. The U.S. Marine Corps base in Cherry Point North Carolina — a large base that constantly flies military jets over the ocean — funded research to determine if their overflights are interfering with incubating plovers and other shorebirds. Currently, the National Parks Overflight Act of 1987 Act prevents the U.S. Marines from flying their aircraft at a certain speed and height over national parks, and they had been seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Parks Service to ease some of those restrictions. As part of a recent study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management and featured in this Wild Cam series, researchers at Virginia Tech University including lead author Audrey DeRose-Wilson recorded audio and visuals of Wilson’s plovers at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina in order to observe their heart rate and behavioral changes before, during and after overflights occurred.   Image Credit: Audrey DeRose-Wilson As part of their study, DeRose-Wilson and her colleagues built and used unique equipment to record the birds’ [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/wild-cam-how-airplanes-ruffle-plover-feathers/

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