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What Happens After? Post-Release Movements and Survival Among Grounded Newell's Shearwater Fledglings

Released: 2017
Raine, A.F., J. Adams, T. Anderson, R.E. David, M. Vynne, M. McFarlin. 2017. What Happens After? Post-Release Movements and Survival Among Grounded Newell's Shearwater Fledglings. Pacific Seabird Group 44th Annual Meeting, Tacoma, WA. 22-25 February 2017.

The Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) is a well-established seabird rehabilitation program initiated on Kaua’i in 1979. Its primary focus is recovering endangered seabirds, the majority are collected by the public and handed over to the project for assessment, rehabilitation and release. Since its inception, over 35,000 seabirds have passed through the project, mainly Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli) fledglings grounded due to light attraction or powerline strikes. Understanding impacts of grounding is vital to help guide and maximize the efficacy of rescue and rehabilitation efforts. This, however, is challenging because birds are released to sea as fledglings and ultimately return to remote montane colonies, most of which are not monitored—rendering band recoveries to assess survival—impossible. Evaluating post-release survival is one option to help evaluate the effects of grounding. We attached satellite transmitters to Newell’s Shearwaters during two years and tracked post-release movements at sea. In 2014, we tracked 12 fledglings recovered by SOS. In 2016, we tracked 6 fledglings recovered by SOS and 6 birds that fledged from a colony in Upper Limahuli Preserve (ULP); two breeding adults from ULP were also tracked. In 2016, we also tracked an adult Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) rehabilitated by SOS after colliding with a powerline. We describe the results of these tracking efforts, and discuss how these data help (i) assess the impact of light attraction and subsequent grounding, (ii) understand post-fledging dispersal, and (iii) assess the effectiveness of rehabilitation. To conclude, we ask, what more information is needed to evaluate post-release survival?

This product is associated with the following project:
Endangered Hawaiian Seabirds

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