SREL Reprint #2883




Parental Activities of Nesting Wood Storks Relative to Time of Day, Tide Level and Breeding Stage

A. Lawrence Bryan, Jr.1, Joel W. Snodgrass2, John R. Robinette3, and Lara B. Hopkins1

1Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802 USA
2Towson University, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson, MD 21252 USA
3U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Savannah Coastal Refuges, Savannah, GA 31405 USA

Abstract: In 1995, parental activities of Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) were monitored in three coastal colonies during a series of 24-h long observation periods to document attendance, foraging, and other activities in relation to time of day, tide level, and breeding stage. During 5,400 nest-hours of observations, nest attendance declined and feeding rates increased with nestling developmental stage. Although some feeding arrivals occurred during darkness, the great majority of arrivals (including feeding) occurred during daylight periods. Mean times of return from feeding trips varied significantly among colonies and nestling developmental stages. Feeding arrivals were linked to tides, suggesting that most foraging occurred during the preceding low tide period. Inter-colony variation in foraging arrival times and interactions with tides were likely associated with differences in proximity to foraging sites and availability of both tidal and non-tidal (freshwater) foraging habitats.

Keywords: attendance, coastal, feeding, foraging behavior, Mycterica americana, parental activities, tide, time of day, Wood Storks

SREL Reprint #2883

Bryan, A. L., Jr., J. W. Snodgrass, J. R. Robinette, and L. B. Hopkins. 2005. Parental activities of nesting wood storks relative to time of day, tide level and breeding stage. Waterbirds 28:139-145.

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