Female American Avocets (Recurvirostra americana) were radio-marked (N=15) and tracked in the South San Francisco Bay, California, to determine if space use varied by breeding stage. Visual observations were used to determine breeding stage (pre-incubation, incubation, brood-rearing, post-breeding) of marked avocets. Space use measurements (linear movements, home ranges, core areas, and average distance from nest) varied significantly among breeding stages. Space use was greatest for the post-breeding stage, followed by pre-incubation, incubation, and brood-rearing. Most avocet nests (93%) were located within their pre-incubation core area boundaries, whereas only 36% of nests were within post-breeding core areas. Distance between daily location and future nest sites decreased significantly as the number of days prior to incubation decreased, suggesting that avocets prospected future nest sites several weeks prior to nesting. These data indicate that breeding stage influences space use of female American Avocets and illustrates the importance of delineating breeding stages to better understand space use of avian species.
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Breeding stage influences space use of female American avocets in San Francisco Bay, California