Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Florida
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Florida Project

Overwintering survival of shorebirds on Florida's Panhandle

June 2018 - December 2020


Participating Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
Molly Tuma, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, surveys Piping Plovers overwintering on Florida's Panhandle.

The beaches and coastal bayside wetlands along Florida’s panhandle are important to migrant and resident shorebirds, including species of conservation concern including Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus). Human disturbance and development, dredged and hardened inlets, and sea level rise have impacted much of the natural beach habitat in this region. Systematic surveys for non-breeding shorebirds have taken place either biweekly or monthly for the past 3-5 years. The objectives of this study are to use existing data and collect additional field data to:
(1) summarize/analyze regional data on non-breeding shorebirds using public lands along Florida’s Panhandle region, and (2) where data on banded birds permits, determine overwintering survival of select species (e.g. Piping Plover, Red Knot) at targeted sites along NW Florida beaches. This work will inform managers of potential areas that may need additional protection or alternative management to enhance survival of migrating and overwintering shorebirds.

Research Publications Publication Date
Tuma, M. E. and A. N. Powell. 2021. The southeastern U.S. as a complex of use sites for nonbreeding rufa Red Knots: fifteen years of band-encounter data. Wader Study 128(3): 265-273. doi:10.18194/ws.00256 | Abstract December 2021
Presentations Presentation Date
Tuma, M. E. and A. N. Powell. Survival and habitat selection of piping plovers (Charadrius melodies) in the Florida Panhandle. Florida Chapter of TWS Annual Meeting. April 2019
Tuma, M. E. and A. N. Powell. 2019. Movement and distribution of red knots (Calidris canutus) in the southeastern U.S. American Ornithological Society, Anchorage, AK. June 2019
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Tuma, Molly E. 2020. Survival, site fidelity, and movement of two migratory shorebirds in the southeastern U.S. M.S. Thesis, University of Florida. May 2020