Migratory Stopover Timing, Survival and Habitat Use of Fall Migrating Sora in Managed Wetlands in Missouri

2017-07-17T19:00:39Z (GMT) by Auriel Fournier
Evidence suggests rails are in decline and their decline may be related to loss of wetlands across the continent (Conway 2008, Eddleman et al. 1988, Tiner 1984). The Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Support Task Force for rails and snipe identified four priority information needs. One of which targeted the estimation of survival rates of rails, using the Sora (Porzana carolina) as a surrogate for other rail species (Case and McCool 2009). Marking rails during fall migration was suggested as a means to estimate annual survival rates. Fall was targeted because rails are easier to capture when water availability is limited on the landscape due to climate and management decisions. Wetland habitat is limited in the fall because water is drawn out of many wetlands in late summer as part of moist soil management for migratory waterfowl habitat (Fredrickson and Taylor 1982). Waterfowl habitat and management is a priority on many public lands (Soulliere et al. 2007). Considerable research has been done on the benefits moist-soil management has for both waterfowl and shorebirds (Fredrickson and Taylor 1992, Reinecke et al. 1989, Lyons et al. 2008). Less is known about how wetland management influences rail habitat during fall migration. By better understanding the ecology of wetland use by rails during the fall and the habitats rails use, managers can better manage for a wider suite of wetland dependent species. I propose continuing our existing nocturnal surveys and putting radio transmitters out on Sora to better understand their stopover duration, habitat use and survival during fall migration.