Overwintering of Black Skimmers in California:: Site Fidelity and Inter-Site Movements

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Science Article 3

abstract

During the last two decades, Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) have become increasingly common along the southern California coast.They are now found year-round in southwestern California (Collinse t al. in press) and in northwestern Baja California (Palacios and Alfaro 1992). Little detailed information has been published, however, about their winter distribution and abundance in this region. Most previous studies of the Black Skimmer have focused on the breeding season, with little attention paid to survival, behavior, and habitat requirement in the wintering areas. Since the difficulties skimmers face on the breeding grounds (e .g., predation, human disturbance, parasitism, disease, inclement weather, contaminants, entanglements, and food shortage) may affect the mal soon the wintering grounds, Burger and Gochfeld (1990) suggested that further studies of wintering birds are needed. They suggested also that most mortality of adults takes place away from the breeding grounds and that young birds are particularly vulnerable during their first winter

Kathleen T. Gazzaniga, Western Birds: Vol. 27, No. 3, 1996

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