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JWM study: New England eiders return to same near-shore wintering areas

Cara J

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In southern New England, eiders winter at the same sites every year, choosing habitats with shallow water and hard bottoms close to the shore, a recent study from Rhode Island demonstrates. “They’re very site-faithful to those areas each winter,” said Joshua Beuth, wildlife biologist for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and first author on the paper published in the June issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. In recent years, these northern sea ducks have been declining in Maine and southeastern Canada at the southern edge of their breeding range and face various pressures elsewhere, Beuth said. Figuring out where they winter could help minimize human disturbances to vital eider habitat and protect their populations. The Atlantic Coast is seeing a rise in both offshore wind and aquaculture farms. “If they’re put in areas important to sea ducks, it could cause habitat loss,” he said, possibly resulting in displacement, longer flight times and greater energy expenditures for eiders. “Birds coming to an area are likely to return, so anything put there will repeatedly disturb them,” Beuth said. From December 2011 to July 2013, Beuth and fellow biologists at the Rhode Island Department of [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/jwm-study-new-england-eiders-return-to-same-near-shore-wintering-areas/

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