Use of Predator Exclosures to Protect Piping Plover Nests in Alberta and Saskatchewan 1998


Isabelle M. Richardson


Nest predation has been identified as a significant factor limiting the Great Plains Piping Plover
population. In 1998, predator exclosures were applied to 40 Piping Plover nests on eight
waterbodies in east-central Alberta and west-central Saskatchewan. Seventy percent of nests
hatched chicks successfully. Nest survival rate in 1998 was significantly higher than that of
‘natural’ nests from 1994 to 1997 (P=0.0002). However, comparison of nest survival rates in
individual years showed that the nest survival rate in 1998 was significantly lower than in 1995
when larger exclosures were used (P=0.0029). Adult predation and cattle damage to exclosures
accounted for 42% of nest failures. Seventy-three chicks were banded with combinations
identifying year and basin of origin. Sixteen band re-sightings on the breeding and wintering
grounds were recorded in 1998.

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