Class Year


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Conference Material

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Department 1

Environmental Studies


The upland sandpiper (Bartramia Longuardia) has experienced a steep population decline in the northeastern U.S. since the mid-20th Century. In Pennsylvania it was found in less than 0.5% of atlas blocks during the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania project (2nd PBBA; 2004-09) and breeding was confirmed at only two locations. Due to continued declines and a small population size, the upland sandpiper was listed as PA endangered in 2012. During May 2012 the areas around 15 2nd PBBA upland sandpiper sightings were resurveyed by Gettysburg College students and volunteer birdwatchers. The aim was to establish whether the atlas records related to persisting populations. We used five-minute audio playback at up to 10 locations within 4km of the atlas sightings. A maximum of 19 pairs/calling male upland sandpipers were found across the state in 2012, most of them on or close to reclaimed surface mines. However, locating such a scarce species can be problematic, and it is still not known to what extent the species is under-reported. To help direct future surveys we analyzed data from the 2nd PBBA and the 2012 survey to produce a habitat suitability model for the upland sandpiper in Pennsylvania. We used a GIS framework to determine areas of suitable habitat and then stratified these by proximity to recent (2004-2012) upland sandpiper sightings. We recommend that our suitability model be used to establish a sampling protocol for more thorough statewide upland sandpiper survey every five years, in order that the species’ precarious status can be closely monitored.


This presentation was given at The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, State College PA, 22nd-23rd March 2013.