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Newport Field Office
Western Snowy Plover
Predator Management

Predator Management

Photo - A red fox peers out from the cover of beach grass (USFWS).

Snowy plover predators identified along the Oregon Coast include American crow (Corvus brachyrhychos), common raven (C. corax), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon (Procyon lotor), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), black rat (Rattus rattus), and feral cat (Felix catus).

Other suspected predators include coyotes (Canis latrans), mink (Mustela vison), short and long-tailed weasel (Mustela spp.), Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), and gulls (Laris spp.) The table below shows the number of known predation events between 1990 and 2007 that caused snowy plover nest failure on the Oregon coast.

 

Causes of snowy plover nest failure on the Oregon Coast 1990-2007

Cause of Nest Loss

1990-2003

2004- 2007

Corvid (crows and raven) depredation
20
20
Unknown depredation
20
24
Mammalian depredation
6
7
Adult depredation
7
2
Avian depredation (of eggs or chicks)
0
0
Unknown cause
14
12
Buried by wind blown sand
13
7
Abandoned
9
23
Overwashed
6
1
Infertile
3
4
Trampled
1
0
Human vandalism
1
0

On the Oregon Coast, snowy plover predator control has historically been in the form of nest exclosures and site specific lethal control. The use of nest exclosures (fenced areas which keep predators out but allow plovers to leave and return) has been very successful. Over time, exclosures may become less effective, possibly due to predators adapting to the presence ofthe exclosures and using them to key in on adults, chicks, and eggs.

Integrated Predator Management Program

In 2002, federal and state agencies approved an integrated predator management program to improve plover nesting and fledgling success. The decision followed public review and comment on an analysis of the effects of the proposed predator control methods, and alternatives, to protect the Pacific Coast population of the western snowy plover in Oregon.

The Bureau of Land Management and Oregon State Parks have been conducting predator control activities since 2002 at selected plover breeding sites in Coos and Curry counties.

The USDA Forest Service began predator control efforts on their lands in Lane and Douglas counties in 2004.