Alberta Piping Plover Predator Exclosure and Population Monitoring Program 2010


Amanda Rezansoff, Lance Engley and Dave Prescott


Nest predation continues to be a significant limiting factor for the Great Plains piping plover
(Charadrius melodus) population. Previous studies conducted in east‐central Alberta and in the
United States have shown that the use of predator exclosures can significantly reduce piping
plover nest predation. Since 2002, predator exclosures have been applied to as many nests as
possible in Alberta with the goal of increasing nest success and ultimately enhancing fledging

As a part of this program, annual surveys are conducted on core breeding lakes in order to better
gauge population numbers and movement. These surveys complement the international census
conducted every five years across North America and are designed to monitor changes in
populations and distribution. Surveys also provide researchers with an opportunity to re‐sight
piping plovers banded in Alberta in previous years, as well as those banded in other jurisdictions.
The information collected from band recoveries assists wildlife biologists in determining dispersal
patterns, adult and juvenile survival, and complements the banding program being undertaken in

We carried out population inventories on 26 waterbodies in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan in
2010. In Alberta, 233 adults were located on 21 different waterbodies, and an additional 23 adults
were seen in adjacent Saskatchewan. In total, 121 nests were found, of which 117 had exclosures
applied to them. Exclosures were 60 cm in diameter and were made of a single length of 5 cm x 5
cm stucco wire 40 cm high. Overall, Mayfield nest success was calculated to be 80.3%, fledging
success was calculated to be 45.4%, and we calculated that 1.61 chicks per pair were fledged in
2010. We banded four young plovers and recorded 23 piping plovers banded in previous years.

All activities carried out during the course of this project were done in support of the Alberta
Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2010 ‐ 2020 (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2010). In particular,
these activities were conducted to address Section 8.2 (Productivity Enhancement), Section 8.3
(Information and Outreach) and Section 8.4 (Population Monitoring and Research) of the recovery

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