Habitat Use by Salt Marsh Birds and Response to Open Marsh Water Management

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We examined the numerical responses of salt marsh birds in Massachusetts to modified open marsh water management (OMWM), a habitat alteration technique to control salt marsh mosquitoes without destroying habitat quality for pool-using birds. This management had little overall effect on bird populations in two 3-ha plots monitored for three yearss after manipulation. Shorebirds increased at first, probably owing to use of spoil resulting from construction activities but then decreased to pre-alteration numbers. Other pool-using birds (herons, terns and kingfishers) were not affected by management and consistently used control plots with extensive natural pool systems. Numbers of some marsh- and upland-nesting birds declined temporarily but returned to pre-alteration levels by the end of the study. Results indicate that open water marsh management, as modified in Massachusetts, has little immediate adverse or beneficial effect on salt marsh birds in marshes that have been previously ditched.


Colonial Waterbirds © 1986 Waterbird Society

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Colonial Waterbirds