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North Slope Breeding Shorebirds

ABR kicked off the first year of a multi-year shorebird breeding ecology study on Alaska's North Slope. Under the direction of Alex Prichard, a team of ABR biologists led by Lauren Attanas and Kori Orion, spent 6 weeks documenting the distribution, abundance, habitat associations, and nesting success of breeding shorebirds. They also identified and monitored nests of landbirds and waterfowl that they found during their searches.

The data gathered in the field will be used to measure the effects, if any, of development and environmental factors on breeding shorebird densities and breeding success during construction and production of the new Willow Project.

This project will also include a pilot study of the use of TinyTags. TinyTags have been used to gather nest temperature data for breeding shorebirds in Greenland since 2007 (Gemini), but their use has yet to become widespread in Alaska. So we are incorporating them in this pilot study to explore more efficient, lower impact nest monitoring. In studies elsewhere, TinyTags have resulted in more reliable and abundant shorebird nesting data with less human disturbance to nests, a win for birds and biologists.

—Thanks to our amazing technicians Andrew Bankert, Stephanie Walden, and David Hejna for their photographic diligence and keen eyes!—


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