Techniques for captive-rearing and releasing piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) were developed using a surrogate species, killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). We compared captive- and parent-reared killdeer, and parent-reared piping plovers and determined that growth and behavior were similar. After surrogate trials determined that captive-rearing was feasible, we used the same methods to raise piping plover chicks from salvaged eggs. For captive-reared chick of both species, survival to fledging was higher than and behaviors similar to parent-reared chicks in the wild. Rearing techniques were fine-tuned, and ten piping plover fledglings were released to the wild. Based on our results, we developed recommendations for captive-rearing piping plovers using salvaged eggs to enhance productivity of small populations.
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Captive-rearing piping plovers: developing techniques to augment wild populations