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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 12, 2022

Using Geolocator Data to Address Changes in Migration Patterns for Black Turnstone

  • Audrey Taylor EMAIL logo , Mary Anne Bishop , Anne Schaefer , Ron Porter and Kristine Sowl
From the journal Animal Migration


Black Turnstone is an obligate Pacific coast shorebird that is included as a “Species of High Concern” in both the U.S. and Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plans. Specific migration routes for this species are not well understood, which makes its recent disappearance at a major spring stopover site, northern Montague Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska, difficult to interpret. We tracked 23 Black Turnstones between breeding and wintering areas and examined migration timing, duration, and routes used. We identified two high-use regions during migration: 1) Cook Inlet/Shelikof Strait, Alaska, and 2) the Haida Gwaii Archipelago in British Columbia/Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska. This second region was also an important wintering area. We found that northbound migration was longer than southbound (the reverse of what is often observed in shorebirds) and that staging behavior was primarily seen during northbound migration. No birds were tracked to northern Montague Island, and only a few individuals stopped anywhere in Prince William Sound. Alterations in patterns of spring herring spawn in Prince William Sound may be affecting the routes and stopovers used by Black Turnstones, and birds may be wintering farther north in recent decades due to warmer winter conditions. Additionally, the increasing availability and popularity of citizen science efforts like eBird has created a mechanism for disseminating observations from less accessible parts of the Black Turnstone range, a fact which may confound our understanding of whether migration routes for this species have changed over the last 30 years.


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Received: 2021-12-17
Accepted: 2022-03-29
Published Online: 2022-05-12

© 2022 Audrey Taylor et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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