Linking migratory shorebird habitats: The power of stable isotopes

Product Type: 

Science Feature

Year: 

2001

Author(s): 

Farmer, A. and J. Wilson

Suggested Citation: 

Farmer, A. and J. Wilson. 2001. Linking migratory shorebird habitats: The power of stable isotopes. 01/01/1901

Effective management of migratory birds requires that we know where they go for the breeding and non-breeding seasons, and where they stop in between. Traditionally, biologists have used leg bands for tracking the paths of migrating birds, but for non-game species, banding has yielded relatively little information about their seasonal movements. Consequently, biologists cannot identify which habitats are limiting for many migratory species because the links between seasonal habitats have not been clearly established. In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the effects of local, regional, and global changes on habitats for many migratory species, including more than 30 shorebird species that breed in North America but spend the non-breeding season in Central or South America. Wildlife managers from many countries are working together to identify priorities and to focus their management efforts to conserve migratory shorebird species. A promising new tool—stable isotope analysis—may be helpful in their endeavor...