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Decline of Leach’s Storm Petrels Hydrobates leucorhous at the largest colonies in the northeast Atlantic

Deakin, Zoe, Hansen, Erpur Snær, Luxmoore, Richard, Thomas, Robert J ORCID:, Wood, Matt J, Padget, Oliver, Medeiros, Renata, Aitchison, Rowan, Ausden, Malcolm, Barnard, Richard, Booth, Viv, Hansen, Broddi Reyr, Hansen, Eldur A, Hey, Jessica, Hilmarsson, Jóhann Óli, Hoyer, Peter, Kirby, Will, Luxmoore, Alasdair, McDevitt, Anne-Marie, Meulemans, Fenna M, Moore, Pete, Sanderson, Fiona, Sigursteinsson, Marinó, Taylor, Philip R, Thompson, Paul, Trotman, Daniel, Wallisch, Katharina, Wallisch, Nina, Watson, Dan and Bolton, Mark 2021. Decline of Leach’s Storm Petrels Hydrobates leucorhous at the largest colonies in the northeast Atlantic. Seabird 33 , pp. 74-106.

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Leach’s Storm Petrel Hydrobates leucorhous has undergone substantial population declines at North Atlantic colonies over recent decades, but censusing the species is challenging because it nests in burrows and is only active at colonies at night. Acoustic playback surveys allow birds present in nest sites to be detected when they respond to recordings of vocalisations. However, not all birds respond to playback on every occasion, response rate is likely to decline with increasing distance between the bird and the playback location, and the observer may not detect all responses. As a result, various analysis methods have been developed to measure and correct for these imperfect response and detection probabilities. We applied two classes of methods (calibration plot and hierarchical distance sampling) to acoustic survey data from the two largest colonies of breeding Leach’s Storm Petrels in the northeast Atlantic: the St Kilda archipelago off the coast of northwest Scotland, and the island of Elliðaey in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southwest of Iceland. Our results indicate an overall decline of 68% for the St Kilda archipelago between 2000 and 2019, with a current best estimate of ~8,900 (95% CI: 7,800–10,100) pairs. The population on Elliðaey appears to have declined by 40 –49% between 1991 and 2018, with a current best estimate of ~5,400 (95% CI: 4,300–6,700) pairs. We also discuss the relative efficiency and precision of the two survey methods.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
ISSN: 1757-5842
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 25 May 2021
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 16:17

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