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Overwintering survival of shorebirds on Florida's Panhandle

Molly Tuma, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, surveys Piping Plovers overwintering on Florida's Panhandle.


June 2018 - December 2020


The beaches and coastal bayside wetlands along Florida’s panhandle are important to migrant and resident shorebirds, including species of conservation concern including Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus). Human disturbance and development, dredged and hardened inlets, and sea level rise have impacted much of the natural beach habitat in this region. Systematic surveys for non-breeding shorebirds have taken place either biweekly or monthly for the past 3-5 years. The objectives of this study are to use existing data and collect additional field data to:
(1) summarize/analyze regional data on non-breeding shorebirds using public lands along Florida’s Panhandle region, and (2) where data on banded birds permits, determine overwintering survival of select species (e.g. Piping Plover, Red Knot) at targeted sites along NW Florida beaches. This work will inform managers of potential areas that may need additional protection or alternative management to enhance survival of migrating and overwintering shorebirds.

Research Products and Activities


  • Taylor, A.R., R.B. Lanctot, and A.N. Powell. 2008. Abundance and distribution of staging shorebirds on Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort coasts. 13th Alaska Bird Conference.
  • Tuma, M. E., P. Kelly, R. Pruner, and A. Powell. 2018. Why should we care about nonbreeding shorebirds in Florida? Poster presented Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Crystal River, FL
  • Tuma, M. E. and A. N. Powell. Survival and habitat selection of piping plovers (Charadrius melodies) in the Florida Panhandle. Florida Chapter of TWS Annual Meeting.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 7

Post Docs: 0

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 10

Scientific Publications: 26

Presentations: 44



Funding Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service


Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Florida
  5. Wildlife Management Institute