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									American Oystercatcher
Management in Florida
   Ann B. Hodgson, Ph. D., PWS
  Gulf Coast Ecosystem Science Coordinator /
             Sanctuaries Manager

   Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries
         410 Ware Blvd., Ste. 702
            Tampa, FL 33619
813 623-6826 Phone / 813 376-8663 Field Phone
        Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries
   Staff                                Audubon of Florida’s
       Dr. Ann Hodgson, Gulf Coast       organizational plan:
        Ecosystem Science                    The Gulf Coast Region was
        Coordinator / Sanctuaries             established in 2005 as one of
        Manager                               six Audubon of Florida
       Ann Paul                              organizational regions.
        Tampa Bay Regional                   FCISP manages 9+ counties
        Coordinator                           on the Gulf Coast, AND
       Mark Rachal                          The 5 historic sanctuaries in
        Field Biologist                       Palm Beach County.
       Carol Cassels                        FCISP continues (>100 yrs)
                                              as a FL colonial waterbird
        Seasonal Warden                       research center.
       Rob Heath                            FCISP provides technical
        Spoonbill Technician                  services to public and private
       Project ColonyWatch                   cooperators.
     AMOY Conservation Issues
        in Tampa Bay, FL
 Large AMOY breeding population and high CBC
  counts annually.
 Shoreline development continues to decrease
  habitat options for all life history requirements.
 Human disturbance from water-based
  recreation, residential, commercial and industrial
  development is stressing the AMOY population.
 Amplified ship wakes, primarily from the cruise
  ships and large cargo traffic (Tampa Bay now
  allows ‘Panamax’ ships), create impressive bow
  wakes that are over-washing AMOY nests,
  particularly with the high spring tides.
American Oystercatcher Count by 2003 CBC Circle
CBC FL - number of birds reported per party hour
    Data: Number of birds reported per party hour

   The graph was generated using the number of
    birds reported per party hour; a measure of the
    amount of time spent searching for birds or the
    amount of effort expended. This is one way to
    standardize Christmas Bird Count data over
    time. Some years, there may have been a lot of
    people counting birds, while other years there
    may have been fewer participants in the field. As
    CBC participation fluctuates (and as the number
    of CBC Count Circles increases), raw count
    numbers may also fluctuate (more counters can
    often lead to more birds reported).
CBC FL - raw count numbers
         Data: Raw count numbers

    The graph was generated using raw count
    numbers for the species selected.
    Because of fluctuations in the number of
    participants on CBC's from year to year,
    and the growth in the number of CBC
    count circles over the last 100 years, the
    graph may be misleading.
2006 Pairs of AMOY, SNPL, and WIPL on the FL Gulf Coast
               Colony Name                      Pairs/Nests        Bay Region          County
                                            AMOY SNPL WIPL
   Cross Florida Barge Canal Islands           20           11   Gulf of Mexico      Citrus
   Anclote Bar                                  2      8    22   St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   Anclote River Mouth Spoil Island             1                Anclote River       Pinellas
   South Anclote Bar                            1      2         St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   Three Rooker Island                          2            2   St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   St. Joseph Sound Marker 28                   1                St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   St. Joseph Sound Marker 26                   1                St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   Ozona Spoil East                             1                St. Joseph Sound    Pinellas
   Clearwater Harbor I-25                       3                Clearwater Harbor   Pinellas
   Belleair Beach Bird Island                   1                Clearwater Harbor   Pinellas
   Indian Rocks Beach Bird Island               1                Clearwater Harbor   Pinellas
   Darling Key, Marker 20, Boca Ciega Bay       1                Boca Ciega Bay      Pinellas
   Little Bird Key NWR                          1                Boca Ciega Bay      Pinellas
   Egmont Key NWR & State Park                  3                Tampa Bay mouth     Pinellas
   Tampa Port Authority Spoil Island 2D        35                Hillsborough Bay    Hillsborough
   Alafia Bank Bird Colony                     16                Hillsborough Bay    Hillsborough
   Tampa Port Authority Spoil Island 3D        15                Hillsborough Bay    Hillsborough
   Apollo Beach & Fishhook Spoil                7                Hillsborough Bay    Hillsborough
   Passage Key NWR                              1                Tampa Bay mouth     Hillsborough
   Port Manatee Key                             5           30   East Tampa Bay      Manatee
   Skiers Island                                1                Sarasota Bay        Sarasota
   Pelican Cove Point                           1                Sarasota Bay        Sarasota
   Little Sarasota Bay Marker 34                1                Sarasota Bay        Sarasota
   Blackburn Bay Marker 20                      1                Sarasota Bay        Sarasota
   Total                                      122     10    65
                       2007 Pairs of AMOY on the FL Gulf Coast
Colony Name                                     County      2006        2007
Citrus Co Spoil Islands & Cross FL Canal        Citrus             20          10
North Anclote Bar                               Pasco               2           1
Anclote River Mouth Spoil Islands               Pasco               1           1
South Anclote Bar                               Pinellas            1           1
Three Rooker Bar/Island                         Pinellas            2           5
St. Joseph Sound Marker 28                      Pinellas            1           0
St. Joseph Sound Marker 26                      Pinellas            1           1
Ozona Spoil East                                Pinellas            1           1
Dunedin Sand Key West                           Pinellas            0           3
I-25                                            Pinellas            3           1
Marker 10                                       Pinellas     -                  1
Indian Rocks/Belleair Beach Bird Island         Pinellas            1           1
Indian Rocks Beach South                        Pinellas            1           1
Darling Key, Marker 20, Boca Ciega Bay          Pinellas            1    -
Little Bird Key NWR                             Pinellas            1    -
Shell Key                                       Pinellas     -                  3
                     2007 Pairs of AMOY on the FL Gulf Coast

Colony Name                                  County         2006         2007
Egmont Key NWR & St. Pk                      Hillsborough            3           3
Tampa Port Authority 2D                      Hillsborough           35          37
Alafia Bank                                  Hillsborough           16          16
Tampa Port Authority 3D                      Hillsborough           15          15
Apollo Beach & Fishhook Spoil                Hillsborough            7          14
Passage Key NWR                              Hillsborough            1           0
Port Manatee Key                             Manatee                 5           3
Skiers Island                                Sarasota                1    -
Pelican Cove Point                           Sarasota                1    -
Little Sarasota Bay Marker 34                Sarasota                1    -
Blackburn Bay Marker 20                      Sarasota                1    -
Masters Island/Upper Bird Island NWR         Lee               -                 1
Givney key/Matlacha Pass NWR                 Lee               -                 1
Fisherman's Island NWR                       Lee               -                 1
Big Carlos Pass Marker 43                    Lee               -                 1
Total                                                              122        122
      AMOY breeding census 1994-2006,
              Tampa Bay, FL



120                                                                                              Snowy Pl over
                                                                                                 Wi l son's Pl over

100                                                                                              Amer i can Oyster catcher
                                                                                                 Bl ack-necked Sti l t

80                                                                                               Wi l l et
                                                                                                 Gul l -bi l l ed Ter n
                                                                                                 Caspi an Ter n
                                                                                                 Least Ter n



      1994   1995   1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006
         2007 Pairs of AMOY – Lake Worth Lagoon

 S.   Lake Worth Lagoon – Snook Islands
      1 large feathered young hatched on an
       isolated mangrove island in the south lagoon
       (local manager photographed the chick).
 RECAP       2007
      Gulf Coast - all sites – 112 prs; adjusted for
       unsurveyed and/or new surveys = 122+
      Tampa Bay - 88 prs
      Habitat loss – submerging islands &
     Factors affecting AMOY Reproductive
       Success in Hillsborough Bay, FL
   2006 population estimate     Strong site fidelity – the
    was 68 pairs/nests in         same pairs nest at the
                                  same site every year;
    Hills. Bay, FL.               comparing nest sites
   Nesting concentrated on       inter-annually, we know
    Spoil islands 2D&3D, and      that pairs come in early
                                  on the same beach sites
    RTP Alafia Bank Bird          annually; the trio always
    Sanctuary, and Apollo         nests at the same site for
    Beach area.                   the past 15 yrs.
                                 High fecundity / pair.
   68/(850 birds/2) = 68/425
                                 Low chick survivorship.
    = 15+% of the Florida
                                 Poor fledging success.
Tampa Bay, FL
Hillsborough Bay, FL
Apollo Beach, S. Hillsborough Bay, FL

                    Photo Credits: Southwest Florida Water Management District
Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary, 3D
            and ‘Beer Can Island’

Photo Credit: Gandy Aerial Photography, Inc.   Photo Credit: Southwest Florida Water Management District
Tampa Bay AMOY Nest Sites
Port Manatee Key, S. Tampa Bay, FL.
AMOY/beach-nesting shorebird
 protection is labor-intensive!
Adult AMOY are regularly disturbed by recreational boaters

               Adult AMOY driven off the
                    nest by a boater
Amoy nests are practically invisible
AMOY chicks are vulnerable to predation
   regardless of cryptic coloration
Typical oyster bar and mangrove islets habitat
Emergent oyster bars provide
    shorebird foraging
    Hillsborough Bay AMOY Conservation Planning

   FCISP participates on the Tampa Bay               FCISP staff seasonally patrols AMOY
    regional Migratory Bird Protection                 breeding locations/known nesting
    Committee with agency partners (U. S.              areas, especially in Hillsborough Bay,
    Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Fish              on weekends and holidays – we have
    and Wildlife Conservation                          distributed 70,000 Hillsborough Bay
    Commission, Tampa Port Authority                   Boaters’ Guides in the past 5 years to
    (TPA)).                                            provide public boating education and
   FCISP annual conducts AMOY                         marine conservation.
    breeding surveys on the Gulf Coast.               FCISP is leading the beach-nesting
   The TPA is increasing the dike height              bird conservation committee to protect
    20 ft. on Spoil Island 2D.                         AMOY and other beach-nesters along
   TPA proposed to construct a ‘wildlife              the Gulf Coast region.
    habitat structure’ as part of the project         FCISP received a TPA grant to
    mitigation - FCISP recommended the                 analyze 15+ years of AMOY data in
    site location of the ‘structure’ in front of       Hillsborough Bay.
    7 persistent AMOY territories.                    FCISP submitted a WCS grant to
   The ‘structure’ will be a revetment of             expand Project ColonyWatch and
    large rip rap, designed to attenuate               beach-nesting bird protection on the
    high waves from large cargo ships in               Gulf Coast region.
    the shipping channel.
  Spoil Island 2D – the Tampa shipping
     channel is off the west shore.

  channel –
west shoreline
2D ‘Wildlife Habitat Structure’ Locations
Acknowledgments                       Literature Cited
   U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service    Hodgson, A. B., A. F. Paul, and M.
    Coastal Program                     Rachal. 2007. Bay Environmental
   NFWF Pinellas County                Monitoring Report: Chapter 17 –
    Environmental Fund                  Avian Conservation. Tampa Bay
   Tampa Port Authority                Estuary Program, St. Petersburg,
   Manatee County Port Authority       FL.
   Environmental Protection           National Audubon Society. 2006.
    Commission of Hillsborough          Internet:http://audubon2.org/birds/
    County                              cbc. Accessed 2Dec2006.
   Tampa Bay Estuary Program
   Sarasota Bay Estuary Program
   Sarasota County
    Environmental Department
   Mosaic LLC
   Gulfstream LLC
   Private Donors

Photo Credit: Pat Leary
                                Photo Credit: Lorraine Margeson

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