Title

Average Diurnal and Nocturnal Flight Patterns of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) During the 2017 Breeding Season

Presenting Author Name/s

Rachel Case

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Sara Maxwell

Presentation Type

Poster

Disciplines

Ornithology | Zoology

Description/Abstract

Common terns (Sterna hirundo) are a migratory seabird species with a summer breeding season and nesting colonies along the US Atlantic coast. They nest along shorelines and forage at sea both diurnally and nocturnally. They play an important ecological role because other species often nest with them, and they can be used as early indicators for environmental disruption. However, not much research has been done on colonies along the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware (Delmarva). We captured 15 birds and geotagged them during the month of June to establish a baseline level of knowledge of the flight patterns of common terns on the Eastern Shore. We processed the data with ArcMap and determined flight times and distances relative to the time of day. We show that there is a difference in distances traveled nocturnally and diurnally, as well as a variation in flight times. On average, nocturnal flights were longer in duration and distance than daytime flights. With this initial information, a clearer understanding of migratory bird patterns in the Delmarva region can be established to further conservation efforts and prevent unnecessary habitat disruptions.

Session Title

Poster Session

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Start Date

3-2-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

3-2-2018 12:30 PM

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Feb 3rd, 8:00 AM Feb 3rd, 12:30 PM

Average Diurnal and Nocturnal Flight Patterns of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) During the 2017 Breeding Season

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Common terns (Sterna hirundo) are a migratory seabird species with a summer breeding season and nesting colonies along the US Atlantic coast. They nest along shorelines and forage at sea both diurnally and nocturnally. They play an important ecological role because other species often nest with them, and they can be used as early indicators for environmental disruption. However, not much research has been done on colonies along the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware (Delmarva). We captured 15 birds and geotagged them during the month of June to establish a baseline level of knowledge of the flight patterns of common terns on the Eastern Shore. We processed the data with ArcMap and determined flight times and distances relative to the time of day. We show that there is a difference in distances traveled nocturnally and diurnally, as well as a variation in flight times. On average, nocturnal flights were longer in duration and distance than daytime flights. With this initial information, a clearer understanding of migratory bird patterns in the Delmarva region can be established to further conservation efforts and prevent unnecessary habitat disruptions.