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Hazards on migration route may imperil Arctic shorebirds

Cara J

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Arctic shorebird populations have been dwindling for more than a decade, but recent research suggests that habitat loss and other factors along their migratory routes may be more responsible for their declines than conditions in their Arctic breeding grounds. These birds, which nest on the tundra in Alaska and Canada during the summer, journey thousands of miles to South America or Asia to wait out the frigid far northern winter. Researchers found the declines were particularly pronounced in birds flying west to winter in Asia and as far south as Australia. “The challenges they’re experiencing in the south is likely driving the decline in Arctic breeding shorebirds — issues on stopovers or overwintering sites rather than on the breeding ground,” said Rebecca Bentzen, a co-author on the paper published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances. A Wildlife Conservation Society avian research coordinator for Arctic Beringia, the region where North America meets Asia, Bentzen and her colleagues examined Arctic shorebirds at nine sites across North America, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and Bylot Island in Nunavut. They studied American golden plovers (Pluvialis dominica), semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), western sandpipers (Calidris mauri), red phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius), [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/hazards-on-migration-route-may-imperil-arctic-shorebirds/

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