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Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


Energy intake is important for wading birds as it maintains body processes that allow them to survive and reproduce, therefore it is important to study the effects that can potentially affect wading’ ability to forage (Schmidt-Nielsen 1997). Factors that may influence wading birds foraging behavior can be biotic or abiotic, such as tide levels (Maccarone and Parsons 1994, Maccarone and Brzorad 2005). This abiotic variable can affect the strike rate and foraging success of certain wading species, such as the snowy egret (Egretta thula) (Barnhart et al. 1992). To determine if snowy egrets foraging behavior is affected by changing tide levels, 10-15 minute focal observations were conducted in the Arcata Marsh during low, medium, and high tide. After observing 32 individual snowy egrets in the Arcata Marsh, strike rate did not vary between the tide levels, but the foraging success of snowy egrets was higher at lower tides. Potential reasons why strike rate did not vary between the different tide levels could be due to prey abundance and source or the foraging method used by snowy egrets in relation to the tide. These variables could be explored in future studies to see if they vary among tide levels.