Stopover Ecology of Transitory Populations: The Case of Migrant Shorebirds

  • Susan K. Skagen
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 125)


The overviews of prairie vertebrates thus far in this book focus primarily on resident or breeding species of several taxa. A myriad of avian species, including warblers seeking the boreal forests and waterfowl flying to northern wetlands, temporarily inhabit the central Plains as they rest and refuel for their long journeys. This chapter spotlights transitory shorebirds that migrate between arctic and subarctic breeding grounds and Central and South American wintering areas with stopover sites in wetlands in the Great Plains (Myers et al. 1987, Skagen and Knopf 1993). Because these migrants stop in the prairie region only to rest and forage to replenish fat reserves before resuming their journeys, they provide a unique perspective of prairie ecology.


Great Plain Spring Migration Stopover Site Prairie Pothole Region Shorebird Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baker, W.L. 1989. Landscape ecology and nature reserve design in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota. Ecology 70:23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barter, M., and W.T. Hou. 1990. Can waders fly non-stop from Australia to China? The Stilt 17:36–39.Google Scholar
  3. Bellrose, F.C., and R.C. Graber. 1963. A radar study of the flight directions of nocturnal migrants. Proc. Int. Ornithol. Congr. 13:362–389.Google Scholar
  4. Bormann, F.H., and G.E. Likens. 1979. Catastrophic disturbance and the steady state in northern hardwood forests. Am. Sci. 67:660–669.Google Scholar
  5. Burger, J., D.C. Hahn, and J. Chase. 1979. Aggressive interactions in mixed-species flocks of migrating shorebirds. Anim. Behav. 27:459–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castro, G.C., and J.P. Myers. 1989. Flight range estimates for shorebirds. Auk 106:474–476.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, K.E., L.J. Niles, and J. Burger. 1993. Abundance and distribution of migrant shore-birds in Delaware Bay. Condor 95:694–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Colwell, M.A., and L.W. Oring. 1988. Habitat use by breeding and migrating shorebirds in southcentral Saskatchewan. Wilson Bull. 100:554–566.Google Scholar
  9. Dahl, T.E. 1990. Wetland losses in the United States, 1780’s to 1980’s. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  10. Davidson, N.C., and P.R. Evans. 1986. Prebreeding accumulation of fat and muscle protein by arctic-breeding shorebirds. Proc. Int. Ornithol. Congr. 19:342–352.Google Scholar
  11. Dickson, H.L., and G. McKeating 1993. Wetland management for shorebirds and other species—experiences on the Canadian prairies. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. and Nat. Resour. Conf. 58:370–378.Google Scholar
  12. Drent, R.H., and S. Daan. 1980. The prudent parent: energetic adjustments in avian breeding. Ardea 68:225–252.Google Scholar
  13. Dunn, P.O., T.A. May, M.A. McCollough, and M.A. Howe. 1988. Length of stay and fat content of migrant Semipalmated Sandpipers in eastern Maine. Condor 90:824–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eldridge, J.L., and D. H. Johnson. 1988. Size differences in migrant sandpiper flocks: ghosts in ephemeral guilds. Oecologia 77:433–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans, P.R., and D.J. Townshend. 1986. Site faithfulness of waders away from the breeding ground: how individual migration patterns are established. Proc. Int. Ornithol. Congr. 19:594–603.Google Scholar
  16. Fredrickson, L.H., and M.K. Laubhan. 1994. Intensive wetland management: a key to biodiversity. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 59:555–565.Google Scholar
  17. Fredrickson, L.H., and F.A. Reid. 1990. Impacts of hydrologie alteration on management of freshwater wetlands. Pp. 71–90 in J.M. Sweeney, ed. Management of dynamic ecosystems. North Cent. Sect., The Wildl. Soc., West Lafayette, IN.Google Scholar
  18. Gill, R.E., Jr., R.W. Butler, P.S. Tomkovich, T. Mundkur, and CM. Handell. 1994. Conservation of North Pacific Shorebirds. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 59:63–78.Google Scholar
  19. Gratto-Trevor, C.L. 1993. Can Landsat TM imagery be used to identify priority shorebird habitat in the Mackenzie Delta lowlands? Abstract, American Ornithologists’ Union symposium. Fairbanks, AK.Google Scholar
  20. Gratto-Trevor, C.L., and H.L. Dickson. 1994. Confirmation of elliptical migration in a population of Semipalmated Sandpipers. Wilson Bull. 106:78–90.Google Scholar
  21. Gudmundsson, G.A., A. Lindstrom, and T. Alerstam. 1991. Optimal fat loads and long-distance flights by migrating Knots Calidris canutus, Sanderlings C. alba and Turnstones Arenaria interpres. Ibis 133:140–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamilton, W.J., H.I. 1959. Aggressive behavior in migrant Pectoral Sandpipers. Condor 61:161–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harrington, B.A., and S. Groves. 1977. Aggression in foraging migrant Semipalmated Sandpipers. Wilson Bull. 89:336–338.Google Scholar
  24. Harrington, B.A., F.J. Leeuwenberg, S.L. Resende, R. McNeil, B.T. Thomas, J.S. Grear, and E.F. Martinez. 1991. Migration and mass change of White-rumped Sandpipers in North and South America. Wilson Bull. 103:621–636.Google Scholar
  25. Harrington, B.A., and R.I.G. Morrison. 1979. Semipalmated Sandpiper migration in North America. Stud. Avian Biol. 2:83–100.Google Scholar
  26. Hayman, P., J. Marchant, and T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.Google Scholar
  27. Hedenstrom, A. 1992. Flight performance in relation to fuel load in birds. J. Theor. Biol. 158:535–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Helmers, D.L. 1992. Shorebird management manual. Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, Manomet, MA.Google Scholar
  29. Helmers, D.L. 1993. Enhancing the management of wetlands for migrant shorebirds. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 58:335–344.Google Scholar
  30. Hicklin, P.W. 1987. The migration of shorebirds in the Bay of Fundy. Wilson Bull. 99:540–570.Google Scholar
  31. Hockey, P.A.R., R.A. Navarro, B. Kalejta, and C.R. Velasquez. 1992. The riddle of the sands: why are shorebird densities so high in southern estuaries? Am. Nat. 140:961–979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Howe, M.A. 1987. Wetlands and waterbird conservation. Am. Birds 41:204–209Google Scholar
  33. Howe, M.A., P.H. Geissler, and B.A. Harrington. 1989. Population trends of North American shorebirds based on the International Shorebird Survey. Biol. Conserv. 49:185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Isleib, M.E. 1979. Migratory shorebird populations on the Copper River Delta in eastern Prince William Sound, Alaska. Stud. Avian Biol. 2:125–129.Google Scholar
  35. Jehl, J.R., Jr. 1979. The autumnal migration of Baird’s Sanpdiper. Stud. Avian Biol. 2:55–68.Google Scholar
  36. Kersten, M., and T. Piersma. 1987. High levels of energy expenditure in shorebirds; metabolic adaptations to an energetically expensive way of life. Ardea 75:175–187.Google Scholar
  37. Knopf, F.L. 1994. Avian assemblages on altered grasslands. Stud. Avian Biol. 15:247–257.Google Scholar
  38. Laubhan, M.K., and L.H. Fredrickson. 1993. Integrated wetland management: concepts and opportunities. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 58:323–334.Google Scholar
  39. Lindstrom, A., and T. Alerstam. 1992. Optimal fat loads in migrating birds: a test of the time-minimization hypothesis. Am. Nat. 140:477–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lindstrom, A., and T. Piersma. 1993. Mass changes in migrating birds: the evidence for fat and protein storage re-examined. Ibis 135:70–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Magurran, A.E. 1988. Ecological diversity and its measurement. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martinez, E.F. 1979. Shorebird banding at the Cheyenne Bottoms Waterfowl Management Area. Wader Study Group Bull. 25:40–41.Google Scholar
  43. Mascher, J.W., and V. Marcstrom. 1976. Measures, weights, and lipid levels in migrating Dunlins Calidris alpina L. at the Ottenby Bird Observatory, South Sweden. Ornis Scand. 7:49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mawhinney, K., P.W. Hicklin, and J.S. Boates. 1993. A re-evaluation of the numbers of migrant Semipalmated Sandpipers, Calidris pusilla, in the Bay of Fundy during fall migration. Can. Field-Nat. 107:19–23.Google Scholar
  45. McNeil, R., and F. Cadieux. 1972. Fat content and flight-range capabilities of some adult spring and fall migrant North American shorebirds in relation to migration routes on the Atlantic coast. Naturaliste Can. 99:589–605.Google Scholar
  46. Morrison, R.I.G. 1984. Migration systems of some new world shorebirds. Pp. 125–202 in J. Burger and B.L. Olla, eds. Shorebirds: migration and foraging behavior. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  47. Morrison, R.I.G., R.W. Butler, H.L. Dickson, A. Bourget, P.W. Hicklin, and J.P. Goossen. 1991. Potential Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network sites for migrant shorebirds in Canada. Can. Wildl. Serv. Tech. Rep. Series 144. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  48. Morrison, R.I.G., C. Downes, and B. Collins. 1994. Population trends of shorebirds on fall migration in eastern Canada 1974–1991. Wilson Bull. 106:431–447.Google Scholar
  49. Morrison, R.I.G., and J.P. Myers. 1989. Shorebird flyways in the New World. Pp. 85–96 in H. Boyd and J.-Y. Pirot, eds. Flyways and reserve networks for water birds. Int. Waterfowl and Wetlands Res. Bur. Spec. Publ. 9, Gloucester, England.Google Scholar
  50. Myers, J.P. 1983. Conservation of migrating shorebirds: staging areas, geographic bottlenecks, and regional movements. Am. Birds 37:23–25.Google Scholar
  51. Myers, J.P., R.I.G. Morrison, P.Z. Antas, B.A. Harrington, T.E. Lovejoy, M. Sallaberry, S.E. Senner, and A. Tarak. 1987. Conservation strategy for migratory species. Am. Sci. 75:18–26.Google Scholar
  52. National Geographic Society. 1981. National Geographic atlas of the world. Fifth Ed. National Geographic Soc, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  53. Neill, R.L., and J.F. Kuban. 1986. Shorebird migration at Arlington, Texas: 1977–1986. Bull. Texas Ornithol. Soc. 19:13–20.Google Scholar
  54. Norton, D.W., S.E. Senner, R.E. Gill Jr., P.D. Martin, J.M. Wright, and A.K. Fukuyama. 1990. Shorebirds and herring roe in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Am. Birds 44:367–371.Google Scholar
  55. Oring, L.W., and W.M. Davis. 1966. Shorebird migration at Norman, Oklahoma: 1961–63. Wilson Bull. 78:166–174.Google Scholar
  56. Page, G.W., and R.E. Gill Jr. 1994. Shorebirds in western North America: late 1800s to late 1900s. Stud. Avian Biol. 15:147–160.Google Scholar
  57. Page, G.W., and A.L.A. Middleton. 1972. Fat deposition during autumn migration in the Semipalmated Sandpiper. Bird Banding 43:85–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Piersma, T. 1987. Hink, stap of sprong? Reisbeperkingen van arctische steltlopers door voedselzoeken, vetopbuow en vliegsnelheid. [Hop, skip or jump? Constraints on migration of arctic waders by feeding fattening, and flight speed.] limosa 60:185–194.Google Scholar
  59. Piersma, T., and J. Jukema. 1990. Budgeting the flight of a long-distance migrant: changes in nutrient reserve levels of Bar-tailed Godwits at successive string staging sites. Ardea 78:315–337.Google Scholar
  60. Recher, H.F., and J.A. Recher. 1969. Some aspects of the ecology of migrant shorebirds. H. Aggression. Wilson Bull. 81:140–154.Google Scholar
  61. Rosenberg, K.V., and T.S. Sillett. 1991. Shorebird use of agricultural fields and mini-refuges in Louisiana’s rice country. Final report to the Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Baton Rouge.Google Scholar
  62. Schneider, D.C., and B.A. Harrington. 1981. Timing of shorebird migration in relation to prey depletion. Auk 98:801–811.Google Scholar
  63. Schreiber, R.K. 1970. Shorebird migration in Ellis County, Kansas: 1968. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 73:11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Senner, S.E. 1979. An evaluation of the Copper River Delta as critical habitat for migrating shorebirds. Stud. Avian Biol. 2:131–145.Google Scholar
  65. Senner, S.E., and M.A. Howe. 1984. Conservation of nearctic shorebirds. Pp. 379–421 in J. Burger and B.L. Olla, eds. Shorebirds: breeding behavior and populations. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  66. Senner, S.E., and E.F. Martinez. 1982. A review of Western Sandpiper migration in interior North America. Southwest. Nat. 27:149–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Skagen, S.K., and F.L. Knopf. 1993. Toward conservation of midcontinental shorebird migrations. Conserv. Biol. 7:533–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Skagen, S.K., and F.L. Knopf. 1994a. Migrating shorebirds and habitat dynamics at a prairie wetland complex. Wilson Bull. 106:91–105.Google Scholar
  69. Skagen, S.K., and F.L. Knopf. 1994b. Residency patterns of migrating sandpipers at a midcontinental stopover. Condor 96:949–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Skagen, S.K., F.L. Knopf, and B.S. Cade. 1993. Estimation of lipids and lean mass of migrating sandpipers. Condor 95:944–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Skagen, S.K., and H.D. Oman. 1996. Dietary flexibility of shorebirds in the western hemisphere. Can. Field-Nat. 110(3): in press.Google Scholar
  72. Smith, K.G., J.C. Neal, and M.A. Mlodinow. 1991. Shorebird migration at artificial fish ponds in the prairie-forest ecotone of northwestern Arkansas. Southwest. Nat. 36:107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Smith, P.W., and N.T. Houghton. 1984. Fidelity of Semipalmated Plovers to a migration stopover area. J. Field Ornithol. 4:247–248.Google Scholar
  74. Stone, K.L. 1994. Shorebird habitat use and response to burned marshes during spring migration in south-central Kansas. M.S. thesis. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.Google Scholar
  75. Streeter, R.G., M.W. Tome, and D.K Weaver. 1993. North American Waterfowl Management Plan: shorebird benefits? Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. Conf. 58:363–369.Google Scholar
  76. Sutherland, W.J., and J.D. Goss-Custard. 1991. Predicting the consequence of habitat loss on shorebird populations. Proc. Int. Ornithol. Congr. 20:2199–2207.Google Scholar
  77. Taylor, D.M., C.H. Trost, and B. Jamison. 1992. Abundance and chronology of migrant shorebirds in Idaho. Western Birds 23:49–78.Google Scholar
  78. Thompson, J.J. 1993. Modelling the local abundance of shorebirds staging on migration. Theor. Pop. Biol. 44:299–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Weber, T.P., A.I. Houston, and B.J. Ens. 1994. Optimal departure fat loads and stopover site use in avian migration: an analytical model. Proc. R. Soc. London 258:29–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Withers, K., and B.R. Chapman. 1993. Seasonal abundance and habitat use of shorebirds on an Oso Bay mudflat, Corpus Christi, Texas. J. Field Ornithol. 64:382–392.Google Scholar
  81. Yates, M.G., J.D. Goss-Custard, S. McGrorty, K.H. Lakhani, S.E.A. Le, V. Dit Durell, R.T. Clarke, W.E. Rispin, I. Moy, T. Yates, R.A. Plant, and A.J. Frost. 1993. Sediment characteristics, invertebrate densities and shorebird densities on the inner banks of the wash. J. Anim. Ecol. 30:599–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan K. Skagen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations