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Data from: Supportive wind conditions influence offshore movements of Atlantic Coast piping plovers (Charadrius melodus melodus) during fall migration

Citation

Loring, Pam; McLaren, James D.; Goyert, Holly (2021), Data from: Supportive wind conditions influence offshore movements of Atlantic Coast piping plovers (Charadrius melodus melodus) during fall migration, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ghx3ffbkf

Abstract

In advance of large-scale development of offshore wind energy facilities throughout the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), information on the migratory ecology and routes of federally threatened Atlantic coast Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus melodus) is needed to conduct risk assessments pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. We tagged adult Piping Plovers (n = 150) with digitally-coded VHF transmitters at two breeding areas within the southern New England region of the U.S. Atlantic Coast from 2015 to 2017. We tracked their migratory departure flights using a regional automated telemetry network (n = 30 stations) extending across a portion of the U.S. Atlantic Bight region, a section of the U.S. Atlantic coast and adjacent waters of the Atlantic Ocean extending from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Most adults departed within a 10-d window from 19 – 29 July, migrated nocturnally, and over 75% of individuals departed within 3-hrs of local sunset on evenings with supportive winds. Piping Plovers migrated offshore directly across the mid-Atlantic Bight, from breeding areas in southern New England to stopover sites spanning from New York to North Carolina, USA, over 800 km away. During offshore migratory flights, Piping Plovers flew at estimated mean speeds of 42 km/hr and altitudes of 288 m (range of model uncertainty: 36 – 1,031 m). This study provides new information on the timing, weather conditions, routes and altitudes of Piping Plovers during fall migration. This information can be used in estimations of collision risk that could potentially result from the construction of offshore wind turbines under consideration across large areas of the U.S. Atlantic OCS.      

Usage Notes

Automated radio telemetry data from 150 Piping Plovers tagged with digitally-coded VHF transmitters and tracked by the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (www.motus.org). Piping Plovers were tagged at nesting sites in southern New England from 2015-2017. 

Funding

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Award: Intra-Agency Agreement Number M13PG00012 with the Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service