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Seabird Productivity in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Black Skimmer chick in Cape Romain NWR, SC

Duration

January 2009 - December 2010

Narrative

CRNWR is one of the most important areas for beach-nesting birds in SC. Marsh Island and White Banks support a diverse array of seabird species and are 2 of only 5 large seabird sanctuaries in the State. Additionally, CRNWR has tern and skimmer nesting on the barrier island beaches of Lighthouse Island, Cape Island and Raccoon Key. During the past 5 years, these barrier islands are often the only barrier islands in SC that support seabird nesting. In 2007, these beaches supported 56% of SC’s black skimmers. Although least terns nest on roof tops and artificial sites, 75% of the least terns that nested on beaches in SC, nested in CRNWR. Although nest counts document the importance of CRNWR for seabird nesting, observations by SCDNR and CRNWR staff in the past 3 years suggest that reproductive success on the barrier islands in CRNWR is very low. Seabirds often abandon nest sites shortly after egg laying and fledglings are not observed. The goal of this project is to monitor seabird nesting on Cape Island, Lighthouse Island and Raccoon Key to document reproductive success and help identify causes of colony abandonment and nest loss.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Brooks, G.L., F.J. Sanders, P.D. Gerard, P.G.R. Jodice. 2013. Predation and flooding reduce nesting success of Least Terns at natural nest sites in South Carolina. Waterbirds 36:1-10. Download  | 
  • Brooks, G.L.*, F.J. Sanders, P.D. Gerard, and P.G.R. Jodice. Daily survival rates for nests of Black Skimmers from a core breeding area of the Southeastern USA. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126:443-450. Abstract |  Download  | 

Thesis

  • Brooks, G. 2011. Reproductive Success of Black Skimmers and Least Terns. MS Thesis, Clemson University.Website  | 

Presentations

  • Brooks, G.*, F. Sanders, P.G.R. Jodice. 2009. Preliminary investigation of factors influencing hatch success of beach-nesting birds within Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina. Waterbird Society Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, New Jersey [Poster]
  • Eggert, L.M.F..*, P.G.R. Jodice, F. Sanders, G. Brooks. 2010. Conservation challenges and successes for seabirds in South Carolina, USA: Importance of longterm monitoring and research partnerships. First World Seabird Conference, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Brooks, G.*, P.G.R. Jodice, F. Sanders. 2011. Nest success of beach-nesting birds in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, USA. Waterbird Society Annual Meeting, Grand Island, Nebraska
 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 2

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 11

Scientific Publications: 37

Presentations: 141

 

Personnel

Funding Agencies

  • Challenge Cost Share, USFWS

Links

South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Clemson University
  2. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute