, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 209-228

Open marsh water management in the mid-atlantic region: Aerial surveys of waterbird use

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Abstract

Nine marsh sites were selected in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey to assess the importance of ponds created by Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM) to migratory birds. Ateight of the nine sites, OMWM ponds were paired with areas of similar-sized natural ponds. Eleven aerial surveys were conducted, mostly in fall and winter of 1987 and 1988 to compare relative use of ponds and sites by black ducks (Anas rubripes), other waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, gulls, and other species of birds. We noted a high degree of variation in bird use. Seasonal effects were significant, but treatment (OMWM vs. natural ponds) effect was not. Water/marsh (W/M) area ratio was positively correlated with waterfowl and black ducks, but pond number was not. Larger ponds (>0.25 ha) tended to be used more than smaller ponds by most bird species.