Date of this Version
Published in Ibis (2008), 150, 541–549.
Few studies have assessed how the dynamics of wetland bird movements relate to changing resource availability, particularly at more than one spatial scale. Within western Oregon’s Williamette Valley, we examined winter resident Dunlin Calidris alpina movements in relation to a decrease in availability of preferred shorebird foraging habitat from early to late winter of 1999–2000. By tracking movements of 15 (early winter) and 12 (late winter) radiomarked individuals, we calculated home ranges and characterized presence/absence of a preference for shorebird foraging habitat during each winter period. Between periods, we compared: (1) percentage of shorebird habitat in home ranges to its availability in the landscape (regional preference), (2) percentage of radio locations in shorebird habitat to its availability within home ranges (local preference) and (3) relative use of roost sites. Concurrent with a 75% decrease in available shorebird habitat from early to late winter, average home range sizes increased by a factor of 3.8. At a regional scale, home ranges in early winter included a significantly greater percentage of shorebird foraging habitat than was available in the wider landscape. However, by late winter, the percent of shorebird habitat in home ranges did not match availability in the landscape. At the local scale, for both winter periods Dunlin were located in shorebird foraging habitat more often than expected given availability of habitat within home ranges [Correction added after online publication 23 May 2008: sentence amended]. An increase in the number of roosts used from early to late winter implies possible reliance on additional sites in late winter for foraging opportunities. Results suggest that wet, unvegetated habitat is sought by Dunlin throughout winter, but individuals could not select home ranges in late winter that fully compensated for seasonal loss of habitat.