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Predator removal enhances waterbird restoration in Chesapeake Bay (Maryland)

November 4, 2011

This report represents an update to an earlier report(Erwin et al. 2007a) on wildlife restoration on the largest dredge material island project in the United States underway in Talbot County, Maryland (Figure 1) in the mid–Chesapeake Bay region, referred to as the Paul Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island ( An important component of this largescale restoration effort focused on water birds, as many of these species have undergone significant declines in the Chesapeake region over the past 30 years (Erwin et al. 2007b). The priority waterbird species include common terns (Sterna hirundo), least terns (S. antillarum), snowy egrets (Egretta thula), and ospreys (Pandion haliaetus). Although significant numbers of common terns (more than 800 pairs in 2003), least terns (62 pairs in 2003), snowy egrets (50 or more pairs by 2005), and ospreys (7 to 10 pairs) have nested on Poplar Island since early 2000, tern productivity especially had been strongly limited by a combination of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) predation. Fox trapping began in 2004, and four were removed that year; no more evidence of fox presence was found in 2005 or subsequently. The owls proved to be more problematic.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Predator removal enhances waterbird restoration in Chesapeake Bay (Maryland)
DOI 10.3368/er.29.1-2.20
Authors R. Michael Erwin, Peter C. McGowan, Jan Reese
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Restoration
Series Number
Index ID 70004035
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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